So ….. could a 15 year old have really nailed the reason for Australia’s falling stakes in the PISA academic analysis game?
Our falling results since PISA’s inception should be a wake-up call to schools and teachers for the need to integrate more engaging ways to educate their older students on the realities of everyday life.
Arguments presented by 15 year old Paloma Jackson-Vaughan in her well publicized article late last year lays the blame on the fact that her peers simply can’t be bothered engaging with tests such as PISA. It is, she contends, their lack of motivation to either sit for or apply themselves to the demands of tests that they perceive to have no relevance on their school marks that PISA test scores have fallen. For good measure, she suggests that high levels of stress endured by this cohort also impact poor performance.
If, she suggests, students better understood the performance of the PISA tests, the results would be different. After alluding to the fact that Australia lacks the kind of cultural expectation for nationwide academic success held by other countries, she concludes her article by laying the blame for falling standards on teachers’ collective inability to engage students in what she terms ‘realities of everyday life’.
A fairly harsh conclusion, which I am sure riled many a teacher who read these words just prior to the end of the 2016 academic year!
That Australia’s PISA performance has been steadily falling can’t be questioned though. This short video, which was incorporated into the article by Paloma Jackson-Vaughan, gives a concise and simple explanation of both PISA and Australia’s performance over the last 16 years:
Ranking scales of the 2015 PISA scores certainly reflects poorly on Australia.
While attempts to account for Australia’s falling achievement levels most often revolve around politics and funding given to education, could it be that this 15 year old has opened an unsavoury can of worms? Could it really be that Australian students are increasingly disinterested in education to the point that they just don’t care?!
Moving from school to school throughout my teaching career, I’ve often been struck by the different ‘feel’ of the school and the different keenness level of students in one school over another. Why is it, I’ve wondered, are students in one school so enthusiastic and engaged while others in other schools are totally laid back?
Is it the teachers who are at fault, the lesson content/presentation, the school admin, the students themselves, the students’ family socioeconomic status, the value given to school and education by the students’ family or is it just simply the amount of money available to create a more apt learning environment? Why are some students more motivated and engaged than others?
So … the question remains. Are the words of this 15 year old truth or nonsense?
Let me know what you think.