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ERIC Number: ED563487
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 302
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-873927-72-4
The Global Testing Culture: Shaping Education Policy, Perceptions, and Practice. Oxford Studies in Comparative Education
Smith, William C., Ed.
Symposium Books
The past thirty years have seen a rapid expansion of testing, exposing students worldwide to tests that are now, more than ever, standardized and linked to high-stakes outcomes. The use of testing as a policy tool has been legitimized within international educational development to measure education quality in the vast majority of countries worldwide. The embedded nature and normative power of high-stakes standardized testing across national contexts can be understood as a global testing culture. The global testing culture permeates all aspects of education, from financing, to parental involvement, to teacher and student beliefs and practices. The reinforcing nature of the global testing culture leads to an environment where testing becomes synonymous with accountability, which becomes synonymous with education quality. Underlying the global testing culture is a set of values identified from the increasing literature on world culture. These include: education as a human right, academic intelligence, faith in science, decentralization, and neoliberalism. Each of these values highlights different aspects of the dialogue in support of high-stakes standardized testing. The wide approval of these values and their ability to legitimate various aspects of high-stakes testing reinforces the taken-for-granted notion that such tests are effective and appropriate education practices. However, a large body of literature emphasizes the negative unintended consequences -- teaching to the test, reshaping the testing pool, the inequitable distribution of school resources and teachers' attention, and reconstructing the role of the student, teacher, and parent -- commonly found when standardized, census-based tests are combined with high-stakes outcomes for educators or students. This book problematizes this culture by providing critical perspectives that challenge the assumptions of the culture and describe how the culture manifests in national contexts. The volume makes it clear that testing, per se, is not the problem. Instead it is how tests are administered, used or misused, and linked to accountability that provide the global testing culture with its powerful ability to shape schools and society and lead to its unintended, undesirable consequences. Contents include: (1) An Introduction to the Global Testing Culture (William C. Smith); (2) A Perfect Storm: The political economy of community-based management, teacher accountability and impact evaluations in El Salvador and the global reform agenda (D. Brent Edwards, Jr.); (3) Legitimacy, State-Building and Contestation in Education Policy Development: Chile's involvement in cross-national assessments (Rie Kijima and Jane Leer); (4) Teaching the World that Less is More: Global education testing and the Finnish national brand (Hilla Aurén and Devin Joshi); (5) Student Achievement and PISA Rankings: Policy effects or cultural explanations? (Ji Liu); (6) Measuring Learning Outcomes and Education for Sustainable Development: The new education development goal (Angeline M. Barrett); (7) The International Space of the Danish Testing Community in the Post-War Years (Karen E. Andreasen and Christian Ydesen); (8) Facilitating Student Learning: A comparison of classroom and accountability assessment (Sumera Ahsan and William C. Smith); (9) Beyond the Large-Scale Testing of Basic Skills: Using formative assessment to facilitate student learning (Renáta Tichၠand Brian Abery); (10) Questioning across the Spectrum: Pedagogy, selection examinations and assessment systems in low-income countries (Anthony Somerset); (11) An Evaluation of How the "Policies of K-12 Testing" Impact the Effectiveness of Global Testing Programs (Sean W. Mulvenon and Sandra G. Bowman); (12) How Much Stakes for Tests? Public Schooling, Private Tutoring and Equilibrium (Mariam Orkodashvili); (13) Testing and School Reform in Danish Education: An analysis informed by the use of "the dispositive" (Kristine Kousholt and Bjørn Hamre); (14) South Korea's Accountability Policy System and National Achievement Test (Pearl J. Chung and Hyeonwoo Chea); (15) The Discursive Hold of the Matric: Is there space for a new vision for secondary education in South Africa? (David Balwanz); and (16) Accountability, Municipal Capacity and the Use of Data: A case study of Sweden (Tracey Burns, Patrick Blanchenay and Florian Köster).
Symposium Books. P.O. Box 204, Didcot, Oxford, OX11 9ZQ, UK. Tel: +44-1235-818-062; Fax: +44-1235-817-275; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Books; Collected Works - General
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Chile; Denmark; El Salvador; Finland; South Africa; South Korea; Sweden
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Program for International Student Assessment; Progress in International Reading Literacy Study; Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study