Globalisation and the politics of international tests: The case of Israel

Yariv Feniger, Idit Livneh, Abraham Yogev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Comparative international tests of students' achievements have become increasingly popular over the past decade. An outcome of this widespread practice is the tendency of various countries to evaluate their national status according to their pupils' international ranking in such achievement tests, partly due to the common belief that high ranking is an indication of the nation's future ability to compete in the global market. Using PISA 2000 and PISA 2006 data, the present study aims to show that the low achievements of Israeli pupils were to be expected, and that their average scores are a reflection of the economic and demographic characteristics of their country. Our findings suggest that the public debate in Israel on school achievements has been magnified out of all proportion. We also discuss the educational policy which derives proposals for educational reform from a conception of globalisation of education. This policy focuses on the setting of standards for educational achievements aimed at improving pupils' place on the international scale. Finally, we claim that the focus on the international grading of educational achievements deflects public attention from an understanding of the significance of inequalities within the country.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)323-335
Number of pages13
JournalComparative Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education


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