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England's "plummeting" PISA test scores between 2000 and 2009: Is the performance of our secondary school pupils really in relative decline

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  • John Jerrim

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    (Institute of Education, University of London, 20 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AL, UK.)

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    Abstract

    The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) are two highly respected cross-national studies of pupil achievement. These have been specifically designed to study how different countries' educational systems are performing against one another, and how this is changing over time. These are, however, politically sensitive issues, where different surveys can produce markedly different results. This is shown via a case study for England, where apparent decline in PISA test performance has caused policymakers much concern. Results suggest that England's drop in the PISA international ranking is not replicated in TIMSS, and that this contrast may well be due to data limitations in both surveys. Consequently, I argue that the current coalition government should not base educational policies on the assumption that the performance of England’s secondary school pupils has declined (relative to that of its international competitors) over the past decade.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Department of Quantitative Social Science - Institute of Education, University of London in its series DoQSS Working Papers with number 11-09.

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    Date of creation: 07 Dec 2011
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    Handle: RePEc:qss:dqsswp:1109

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    Keywords: PISA; TIMSS; educational policy; change over time;

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