European Journal of Education

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Seeing education through the prism of PISA

Abstract

International comparisons are never easy and they are not perfect. But PISA shows what is possible in education and it helps countries to see themselves in the mirror of student performance and educational possibilities in other countries. This article summarises key policy insights from PISA. It highlights how excellence and improving equity need not be conflicting policy objectives, but that they tend to be jointly achieved only when deliberate policies are in place that match resources with needs and when stratification and grade repetition are contained. The article also shows how a number of countries have been able to raise learning outcomes and moderate the impact of social background in the last decade and highlights some of the policies and practices that characterise these countries.

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