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How international tests fail to inform policy: The unsolved mystery of Australia’s steady decline in PISA scores


  • Morsy, Leila
  • Khavenson, Tatiana
  • Carnoy, Martin


•Argues that explaining national declines in test scores is as important as explaining increases.•Interviews with Australian experts on reasons for Australia’s large decline in PISA scores.•Uses microdata from PISA and TIMSS scores to test expert explanations for decline.•Finds that decline is pervasive across Australian states and social class groups.•Finds that there is no clear explanation for the large decrease in Australia’s PISA scores.

Suggested Citation

  • Morsy, Leila & Khavenson, Tatiana & Carnoy, Martin, 2018. "How international tests fail to inform policy: The unsolved mystery of Australia’s steady decline in PISA scores," International Journal of Educational Development, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 60-79.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:injoed:v:60:y:2018:i:c:p:60-79
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ijedudev.2017.10.018

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gonzalo Castex & Evgenia Kogan Dechter, 2014. "The Changing Roles of Education and Ability in Wage Determination," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(4), pages 685-710.
    2. Steven G. Rivkin & Jeffrey C. Schiman, 2015. "Instruction Time, Classroom Quality, and Academic Achievement," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 0(588), pages 425-448, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gigi Foster, 2018. "Education Policy Reforms to Boost Productivity in Australia," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 51(2), pages 253-261, June.
    2. Liu, Ji & Steiner-Khamsi, Gita, 2020. "Human Capital Index and the hidden penalty for non-participation in ILSAs," International Journal of Educational Development, Elsevier, vol. 73(C).
    3. Tommaso Agasisti & Aleksei Egorov & Daria Zinchenko & Oleg Leshukov, 2018. "Universities’ Efficiency And Regional Economic Short-Run Growth: Empirical Evidence From Russia," HSE Working papers WP BRP 203/EC/2018, National Research University Higher School of Economics.


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