December 3, 2013

Bob Farrace, NASSP

NASSP logo

NASSP Statement on PISA Results:
Despite Fervor Over Scores, US Continues to Ignore Lessons

Reston, VA–NASSP Executive Director JoAnn Bartoletti issued the following statement on the release of results from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD):

The latest PISA test score results lead many to focus on a single takeaway: US students rank below many of their international peers on the tests. Quite predictably, education pundits are using the results to support their agendas: PISA scores are why we need more test-based accountability, more choice and charters, more union-busting, and so forth.

Yet, high-performing OECD nations do none of these things. The great irony, in fact, is that US policy and practice has responded to the PISA fervor in ways that are inconsistent with the very lessons OECD has tried to teach us. In its 2010 Lessons from PISA: United States report, OECD highlighted critical areas where US policy and practice deviate from those in high-performing OECD nations. High-performing nations, for instance, invest heavily at the “point of delivery,” maintaining an intensive focus on teacher and principal quality from initial preparation through the twilight of their careers. High-performing nations promote teacher collaboration, a hallmark of Breaking Ranks school improvement, and allow significant time for teachers to engage in common lesson development and professional dialogue. And high-performing nations rely on the professional accountability of educators rather than the administrative accountability that draws on standardized test scores to evaluate teachers and principals.

Regardless of where the United States ranks on OECD’s scale, the organization has said our country continues to be a place where “interesting, stimulating, and possibly leading examples of education practice are always taking place.” OECD has also pointed out that “many top policy experts believe the future belongs to the world’s leaders in innovation and creativity and that many educators from around the globe travel to the US to see how we educate for the advanced level of innovation proven in our economy.” That innovation and creativity doesn’t always translate into test scores.

# # #

The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) is the leading organization of and national voice for middle level and high school principals, assistant principals, and all school leaders from across the United States and more than 36 countries around the world. The association provides research-based professional development and resources, networking, and advocacy to build the capacity of middle level and high school leaders to continually improve student performance. Reflecting its long-standing commitment to student leadership development, NASSP administers the National Honor SocietyNational Junior Honor SocietyNational Elementary Honor Society, and National Association of Student Councils.