Testing Expert: Be Wary of Misinterpreting International Assessments

Diane Ravitch's blog

Assessment experts Judith Singer and Henry Braun wrote an article for Science warning about the risks of misusing the results of international tests. The article is behind a paywall, and I don’t have a subscription. Singer was interviewed by a writer for The 74, and she expressed her concerns. The bottom line is that the rankings distort more than they reveal.

“The rankings that are commonly used to report the results of [international tests] draw headlines, but they are often incredibly misleading,” she told The 74. “The countries aren’t sports teams to be ranked as winners and losers.” Indeed, she observed, the British press uses the same term to describe the hierarchy of international testing performance — “league tables” — as for soccer and rugby standings.”…

“Worse than the alarmism accompanying news stories, Singer says the rankings themselves are frequently arbitrary and mercurial. Positions change from year to year for…

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