At a 2007 meeting held in Washington, DC, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) staff and experts acknowledged the ‘considerable challenges’ that lay ahead in developing, ‘internationally comparative measures of higher education learning outcomes’ (OECD 2007a, 2). These experts noted that there was ‘no clear roadmap for overcoming these challenges and some compared the situation with when Columbus set sail’ (Ibid., emphasis added). Is it merely coincidental that Columbus’s journey came up at an OECD meeting? What does the use of this Columbus metaphor signify and suggest about colonial vestiges in contemporary educational policy? While on the one hand, Columbus’ journey fueled the formation of global trade circuits, the European Renaissance, and the Western industrial revolution (Blaut 1993; Mignolo 1999, 2005), on the other, it instigated the pillage, rape, and exploitation of the colonized and their lands first in the Americas and then across the globe (Mignolo 2000; Smith 1999). As efforts to develop internationally comparative measures of learning outcomes ‘set sail,’ the OECD takes a steering role. This article considers the degree to which the OECD is

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an imperial agent in higher education policy today. I address this question by critically examining the role of the OECD in the production of a global testing regime in higher education currently underway – International Assessment of Higher Education Learning Outcomes (AHELO) initiative – from an ‘anticolonial perspective’ (see Shahjahan 2011).