Malignant Accountability, False Promises, and the Future of Education

Authored by: Yael Yuli Tamir

Handbook of Philosophy of Education

Print publication date:  October  2022
Online publication date:  October  2022

Print ISBN: 9781032000053
eBook ISBN: 9781003172246
Adobe ISBN:


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The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has promoted a cycle of global testing in math, science, and reading and rankings of educational systems, claiming that better educational outcomes in these subjects will reliably yield economic growth. This chapter addresses the damaging effects of PISA accountability and argues that the claim on which it is premised is false. While PISA results reflect the social and economic background of the children tested, the chapter concludes that increasing a country's level of education often has no effect on economic growth. PISA fosters the illusion that education can be improved, and poverty alleviated, without major social change to close social and economic gaps and make societies more just and inclusive. PISA accountability has meanwhile had a corrupting effect on education, dictating the essence of educational practice, impoverishing classrooms, increasing the already high level of stress in schools, and making educators the scapegoats for society's failures.

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