PISA, global reference societies, and policy borrowing: The promises and pitfalls of ‘academic resilience’
Permanent link to Research Commons versionhttps://hdl.handle.net/10289/15363
The Programme in International Student Assessment (PISA) has become the prominent method of international comparison of the achievement of 15-year-old children in reading, mathematics, and science. Recently, the OECD, which administers PISA, has devoted a great deal of energy promoting the notion of “academic resilience”—which refers to the capacity of individuals to prosper despite encountering adverse circumstances. Countries are compared and contrasted in relation to the relative share of disadvantaged students that are able to achieve at higher achievement levels on PISA, with associations drawn from school-level factors and resulting implications drawn for policy reform. This paper offers a number of cautions with the growing influence of cross-national comparisons of academic resilience. Our discussion underscores how the OECD’s notion of “academic resilience,” which has come to dominate transnational policy debates, is quite narrow and limited by the measures it uses to assess student competencies.
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