PISA: ignorance or happiness!

PISA, ignorance or happiness.

The PISA test of the OECD is very powerful in provoking headline news and educational reforms around the world, but at the same time, it is criticized by researchers from comparative pedagogy and comparative education.

There is an enormous amount of relationships and correlations that one can derive from the data published by the OECD’s PISA 2018 report.

One of those, which seems paradoxical, is the relationship between the students’ performance and the students’ satisfaction with life.

On the left side are the countries ordered from the lowest to the highest satisfaction of students with life. The most satisfied country of the sample, Mexico, shows an index value of 8.11. On the right side are the countries mostly clustered from highest to lowest on performance in the reading test. The People’s Republic of China (represented by four provinces) is the one with the highest result, 555 PISA points.

Note that most of the countries with high results in PISA (dark blue bar on the right side) show on the left side the lowest results in satisfaction with life (gray bar), that is: wise but unhappy. On the contrary, the Latin American countries, show the greatest satisfaction with life (bars of intense yellow) but the lowest PISA results (bars in light blue), that is, ignorant but happy or happy but ignorant.

Finland is the only country in the sample with wise and happy students.

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