OECD’s proposed global learning outcomes test meets criticism

July 26, 2013

A new international PSE testing system proposed recently by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and development (OECD) has raised concerns from many sector stakeholders. The OECD has released a series of reports that examine whether it is practically and scientifically feasible to assess what PSE students around the world know and can do upon graduation. Andreas Schleicher, the OECD’s chief education adviser, says that the push for the assessment is a response to the rising influence of university rankings, which are widely reported in the media and that tend to emphasize research over teaching. “If we don’t have a way of measuring teaching then we are going to have to rely on reputation — which only tells you about the past.” However, Patti M. Peterson, an official from the American Council on Education, which represents US university and college presidents, says that “trying to take very different systems of higher education and measure across them” will not be successful. John Aubrey Douglass, a professor at the University of California, agrees, saying “If the purpose is for institutions to use the data from this test for self-improvement, you’re not going to get there.” Other critics are concerned that the test would mean a trend towards uniformity in how things are taught. New York Times