Uses of PISA and other external evaluations: Global dynamics and the Basque/Spanish case

The Centre for Vocational and Educational Policy hosts a public seminar presented by Professor Josu Solabarrieta, Dean of the Faculty of Psychology and Education, University of Deusto, Spain.

The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and other external evaluations of students’ achievement are being increasingly used for political purposes. International league tables, evidence-based policy-making, prioritization of economic productivity over other educational aims, are some of the ingredients of many discourses in educational analysis and policies. Scholars like Rizvi have provided an excellent framework for understanding some of the global dynamics of consultancies, think tanks and organizations which are developing approaches and proposals that are inspiring educational policies in many places. In Spain, the former Minister for Education instituted a general law of education that promoted an explicit and systematic competition among schools, based on the results of an external evaluation of student achievement. With a change of Minister for Education, there appears to be a shift in the implementation of the law. At the same time, Basque and other regional governments have continued with their own policies about the utilization of external evaluation results. These have certainly increased the uncertainties within the educational landscape in Spain. In this seminar, Professor Solabarrieta will be using the framework proposed by Rizvi and others to analyse the educational competency distribution and tensions between the Spanish state and Basque regional government in relation to external evaluation of students and the utilization of results.