The Pisa Virus-

         Pasi Shalsberg a leading Finish Educationist has referred to the Pisa international school ranking as a virus. It has been causing a doom and gloom attitude towards education in countries who are not top ranked. It is leading to speculative reforms to address the perceived under performance.

         The problem with the O.E.C.D. Pisa International Educational Rankings is that they have become the equivalent to world cup tournments, such as rugby and football. Pisa has declared top ranking Shanghai, China as the world champions. The problem is that assessing the quality of countries attainment in countries across the world is infinitely more complex.

        The B.B.C. Wales " South Korean: School Swap South Korean Style" exposed what lies behind the Pisa competitive school rankings. This what prompted Howard to write a researched book on Pisa, which is available on his website. The B.B.C. Wales 2016 program exposed what is practiced in the top ranking Pisa countries. Few people have been aware of this.

         The Pembrokeshire children who went to a school in Seoul South Korea were required to attend school from 8 a.m. until 4.30 p,m., with a lunch break in between. They then attended night classes, which are called 'Hagwan's
until 10 o'clock at night. The Korean Government had created a curfew, a limit to children attendance at them at 10 o'clock.

          There is professor of Chinese Art living France. She explained she was educated in Shaghani, China. She explained that after school finished at 5.30 p.m. in Shaghai, China that children from 7 to 8 years old did 5 hours of homework every night. She claimed even kindergarden children do a massive amount of work. She claims that the practice is part of the Far East culture.

       When Andreas Schleicher, head of the O.E.C.D. Pisa refers to the wonderful achievements of Shanghai, China, which has more recently been combined with other Chinese provinces in the Pisa assessments, there is no evidence that he refers to what is practiced in there. South Korea, has the highest suicide rates the developed world. Children are not glorified computers, encylopedias. It not clear what intrinsic value such obsessive learning has.

          The Welsh Government should be commended for abandoning its Pisa targets. Although there are weaknesses in the "Curriculum of Excellence in Scotland" it has been disastification with their 2018 Pisa rankings and scores that has promoted them to review their curriculum.  Michael Gove, when he was the English education minister, introduced rigorous assessment in attempt to compete with Far East, but the evidence from the Pisa results that little has changed. 


    There has been developing criticism of the validity of Pisa. Dylan Wiliam, who lectures on education across the world, has contended that Pisa has no comparative value. Howard's book concluded that the Pisa results are extremely volatile and they have no intrinsic value. The 2015 and 2018 results for Shanghai and the Chinese provinces illustrates this. There has been claims their scores were rigged.

Key Points   

1. The Pisa are ranking are creating a competative environment, the difference between a 1st rank and 2nd person is a marathon race can be a second, a minute or an hour. A rank is meaningless stastic that only informs on order. The reasons why countries like United Kingdom has gone down the ranking is more countries are entering. In 2000 the United Kingdom was ranked 7th in Reading.

2. The estimated average score that the key Pisa measure are estimated scores, they score countries to a thousandth of degree, which is ridicolous ad they would be more meaniingul if they are presented in percentages. Even Shanghai, xxx obtain and most countries score are around average.

3. The problem with the Pisa average scores is Pisa uses 'big numbers' for unknown reasons. It claims that 40 Pisa points refers to a notional years progress. If a Pisa average child does exist in any given country. This would suggest their progress can be measured to the level of school week. 

4. The associated problem is that in Far East Countries like South Korea their curriculum is narrow they concentrate on the Pisa assessed curriculum language, maths and science.  Children in the west devote their learning effort on a much broader curriculum. When western children take the Pisa assessment they are only be assessed on part of what they learn in school.

5. The most serious problem with the estimated average score is they are extremely volatile. Strictly speaking the only officially ranked Pisa score in the United Kingdom score, but Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and England obtain separate scores, the two sets different. Massechatus also has an official score in the United States. It score is radically different to the United Scores. The tend to be conflict over the individual country scores in the United Kingdom, but if they were not obtained they would only have the the United Kingdom score.

6. Shanghai, China obtained a official score in 2015, but they were officially combined with three other countries. The combined score plummeted around 50 Pisa points, despite their unofficial scores remaining the same, but when one of the Chinese provinces was swapped for the 2018 Pisa the combined score became topped ranked inclusive of Shanghai China.  A farcical record breaking climb of 50 points was achieved. Michael Gove reforms resulted in a 5 point improvement in Englands maths score.

7. Pisa obtains the same sample of children from the Unites States with a total population of 315 million and Ireland with 5 million. 
A range of very small countries can push other countries down the ranking. The States in the United States that are larger that some Pisa countries. If each State was assessed in Pisa there would be a huge variety of different score. 

8.  It must serious questioned whether the attainment of children can be summarised by single estimated average score, number. The reason why the score is estimated is that Pisa assessments are not simply marked right or wrong, they are created using complex computer calculations, which include computer calculation, which have estimate and weighting estimation.  Pisa can be described as being like a 'black box', where information is placed into the computer, and it difficult for anyone but statistical experts to verify the outcome of the finding. An assessment of all children in a country would more reliable.

9. The problem with average is that as if a random sample of people's heights was taken, there would be range of different ways an average can be reach. It a process similar to placing different sized apples in a bag and weighting them to work out the average weight. The human brain in terms of structure and content is a different as our faces. There issue of what is a Pisa estimated average child and do we want all children to be cloned to conform to that definition.

10. Pias does evaluate the distribution of children's performance. This is extent that the spread of children attainment varies in children in countries. This can offer information of interest and other stastical evidence, but Pisa was not designed to assess the quality of educational systems. Children were not even taught in the South Korean school. They would have failed a E.S.T.Y.N. school inspection in Wales.

11. The South Korean Style program illustrated were having private lessons out of school and this is occurring across the world. This means that the outcomes of Pisa may not necessarily measure the quality of the school performance. This can happen at school level.

12. It takes over 10 years to educate a child, the learning potential learning through t the world, can a never be equal, Pisa does mot assess what is coming down the school production line or what happens to children after 15 years of age. As Professor David Reynolds claimed, who is an authority on school systems across the world, has stated that despite the 'doom and gloom' about school standards in the west, many children proceed to university and do well in them. T


      There has been enduring dissatisfaction with educational standards, especially mathematical standards for many decades. This has related to an unwillngess of politicians to accept that the learning potential of children is not equal.

       There is no good reason for the competitiveness of Pisa. The evidence is Andreas Schliecher wants country to compete to ever increasingly improve standards. What has happen is that the obsessive work effort of children in the Far East has created abjectly unrealistic expectations of what children can be expected to obtain. The is no evidence he has ever referred to what is reasonable suggest is the inhumane hours children are devoting to their learning in the Far East.

      The designation of China and other Far East countries is communicating to media of what can be achieved. There is explicit evidence that Andreas Schliecher wants countries to competitively fight to improve their educational systems to compete with the Far East. It  has lead to 'knee jerk' 'doom and gloom' reactions in countries that has promoted speculative reforms, but the quantity of learning does not necessarily equal the quality of it.