Philosophical Insights into PISA and Mathematics Education Policy Issues

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The mathematical attainment of schoolchildren around the world is assessed in PISA (the Programme for International Student Assessment), which is administered on a three-yearly cycle by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). PISA is purported to provide valid and reliable comparisons of students’ mathematical achievements in a range of different national education systems, and the results can have major implications for the mathematics education policies of these nations, sometimes leading to policy-borrowing from high-performing countries/regions. Aspects of Ludwig Wittgenstein’s later philosophy of mind are used to problematize an over-reliance on the use of PISA to inform policy decisions in mathematics education. It is suggested that, when PISA is viewed through a later Wittgensteinian lens, a potential deficiency in the underpinning psychometric model, pertaining to the inherent indeterminism in unmeasured mathematical abilities, may weaken PISA’s utility in guiding mathematics education policy decisions.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jul 2021
EventThe 14th International Congress on Mathematical Education - Shanghai, Shanghai, China
Duration: 11 Jul 202118 Jul 2021


ConferenceThe 14th International Congress on Mathematical Education
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