PISA FOR DEVELOPMENT AND THE SACRIFICE OF POLICY-RELEVANT DATA* *The author is grateful to the Fritz Thyssen Foundation for supporting the P4D4Policy research project.

Camilla Addey About the author


This paper examines how PISA is being extended to include lower and middle income countries, raising questions about its significance in such contexts and its claim to produce more policy-relevant data. The paper tells the history of PISA for Development (PISA-D), before discussing how PISA-D is negotiated as a policy tool. Drawing on Haas' (1992HAAS, P.M. Introduction: Epistemic communities and international policy coordination. International Organization v. 46, n. 1, p. 1-35, 1992. ) epistemic communities, and on socio-material semiotics (LAW, 2008LAW, J. On Sociology and STS. The Sociological Review v. 56, n. 4, 2008.), this paper discusses qualitative data consisting of document analysis and interviews on PISA-D carried out at the OECD, The Learning Bar (a private contractor), and with high level policy actors in Ecuador and Paraguay (two PISA-D countries). By unpacking the negotiation process upon which PISA-D's policy-relevance threshold was established, the paper unravels the multiple interests invested in PISA-D. These interests, and PISA-D's policy-relevant data being more PISA-relevant, challenge PISA-D's policy-relevance claim and argue its relevance threshold is driven by a commitment to the PISA epistemic community (BLOEM, 2015). The paper concludes questioning the meaning of "policy-relevance" in the PISA era. In the days of epistemological governance (SELLAR; LINGARD, 2013SELLAR, S.; LINGARD, B. PISA and the Expanding Role of the OECD in Global Education Governance. In: MEYER, H.D.; BENAVOT, A. PISA, Power, and Policy the emergence of global educational governance . Wallingford/GB, Symposium Books, 2013.), the global education community appears to have moved away from what knowledges are relevant for policy to whose knowledge counts for policy.

PISA for development; OECD; Policy-relevance; Paraguay; Ecuador

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