Today we explore some of the problems with global learning metrics from the perspective of teacher unions. In particular, we look at outcomes-based approaches to international education development.

Such an approach uses global learning metrics to quantify supposed outcomes of education. But as a result, education is reduced and simplified.

My guest today is David Edwards, Deputy General Secretary of Education International in Brussels. Education International is the global federation of teacher unions. He will present some of the ideas discussed today at the CIES Symposium in November. Check out for more details about the event.

PISA stands for the Programme for International Student Assessment. It is a test administered by the OECD in many countries around the world. You might have heard about the test because of the international league tables comparing systems of education that are created after the results are released. In recent years, Finland and Shanghai have come out on top, unleashing a wave study trips to those place by policymakers who want to learn the secret of good education.

Bob Lingard, a Professorial Research Fellow at the University of Queensland, has spent many years researching the rise of global education governance (see for example this article). He sees the PISA for Schools program as part of the expanding work in education by the OECD. He spoke with me in mid-January about his recent article and recounts the historical evolution of the OECD’s work in education. He ultimately questions the comparative value of the PISA for Schools program.