Education International
Education International

Teacher unions seek greater input on PISA

published 4 September 2006 updated 4 September 2006

Teachers around the globe are concerned about the impact of large-scale international testing and its uses and abuses in development of national education policies.

For this reason, Education International has been working closely with the Trade Union Advisory Committee (TUAC) to ensure that teachers’ concerns and proposals for improvement are heard in the development of one of the world’s most important educational assessment programs: the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).

Administered every three years, now in 30 OECD countries and 27 partner countries, it tests the achievement of 15-year-olds in reading, mathematical and scientific literacy. The results attract intense media interest in all participating countries. However, simplistic interpretation by politicians and others can be misleading, and can run counter to goals defended by teacher trade unions.

This week the first-ever joint seminar on PISA will take place at the OECD headquarters in Paris, jointly hosted by EI and TUAC. The event has attracted the participation of more than 90 educators and scholars, including representatives of teacher trade unions from 44 member organizations in 26 countries.

The seminar will address three main topics:

  • How to interpret PISA: the analytical use of the data from PISA 2006;
  • Parent-teacher interaction and learning: the optional parent questionnaire 2006 and the teacher survey 2007;
  • Future strategies for PISA and the early involvement of teachers through their unions.

"PISA has an undeniable impact on public opinion and policy, and can provide valuable insights on issues of quality and equity in education," said EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen.

"We want to make sure that the teachers are involved through their unions in all stages of PISA, that the focus is on the interests of the pupils, and that the data is not misinterpreted by politicians for their own purposes.

"This meeting will give EI affiliates direct access to the key people running PISA, and we will be aiming to reach agreement with OECD on the future involvement of unions," van Leeuwen added.