chapter  2
18 Pages

Performance as testing

International large-scale assessments
WithCharlene Tan

This chapter focuses on a narrow-global understanding of performance in the context of International Large-Scale Assessments (ILSAs). From the standpoint of standardised transnational evaluation, the performance of an education system is measured by its average scores and ranking in the subjects or domains tested in the ILSA. The chapter provides an overview of the achievements of Singapore, Shanghai, and Hong Kong in Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), and Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS). A foundational presupposition of PISA and ILSAs is their reliance on standardised quantitative measures. The governance of ILSAs has brought on and entrenched a global testing culture where "testing becomes synonymous with accountability, which becomes synonymous with education quality". The recognition of resilient students in PISA resonates with supporters of Confucianism who believe in equal educational opportunity for all, as exemplified by Confucius' teaching of many disciples who came from poor and underprivileged family backgrounds.