OECD urges caution - but Gove has thrown caution to the wind

Janet Downs's picture
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) which administers the three-yearly Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) tests has again warned that the PISA results for the UK in 2000 are flawed. As has been discussed before on this site, Mr Gove has ignored the OECD and repeatedly used these figures to paint a bleak picture of UK state education and justify his reforms.

Now the OECD in its Economic Survey of the UK 2011 (p99) has repeated its advice: “…data from PISA for the United Kingdom for 2000 should be used with some caution, due to sampling problems.”

The DfE defends its use of the disputed statistics by citing a report from Southampton University  which found that while the school participation rate in 2000 was inadequate the pupil rate exceeded the required PISA response rate of 80%. The pupil response rate was 81% - on this slender margin rests the DfE’s justification to use figures which the organisation providing them has said are suspect.

The question is: why is the Secretary of State so eager to prove that state education is unfit for purpose? And how can we trust his assertions if he chooses to ignore advice from an organisation he purports to respect?
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