The OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) results released today show a widening gap between students who are advantaged and students who are disadvantaged, says Chris Abercrombie, PPTA Te Wehengarua acting president.
“The main result PISA consistently shows is that if you are fortunate enough to be born into a financially comfortable family, you will do better academically. “On the face of it, the results continue a pattern that has been trending downward for the last 20 years. However, when looking at these results we need to take the broader educational context into account.
“The old-school form of assessment PISA uses is becoming increasingly irrelevant here in Aotearoa New Zealand and many other countries around the world. This was demonstrated by the relatively low number of schools that took part – well short of the PISA target.
Chris Abercrombie said when the PISA assessments were done, in 2022, the world was in the midst of a pandemic and PISA was simply not a priority. “Definitely in Aotearoa New Zealand, it was an unnecessarily high stakes investment for low return for schools.
“Participation in PISA is voluntary here, and we have seen over the last several years an increasing unwillingness among students to do these assessments as they are not meaningful to them. In other countries, particularly those that have traditional styles of assessment, i.e. rote learning and multi-choice questions, participation in PISA is compulsory and students are actually trained in how to do the assessments.
Chris Abercrombie said schools in New Zealand did not need PISA. “Schools are more interested in raising achievement levels and ensuring better educational outcomes for all young people.
“I hope the government reads the writing on the PISA wall and realises that if it is serious about improving educational achievement, the most important thing it can do is address the widening gap between the haves and have nots in Aotearoa New Zealand.”