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“Global competence” to be tested by OECD

The Programme for International Student Assessment, which measures students’ literacy, numeracy and scientific knowledge will include a section on ‘global competency’ for the first time in 2018.

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The PISA is used to construct a global league table of students' skills around the world

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, which runs the test every three years, says the new category will test teenagers abilities to “understand and appreciate different perspectives and world views [and] interact successfully and respectfully with others”.

The global think tank says the change was prompted by what it calls “indiscriminate violence” on ethnic and religious grounds. Topics such as the ‘fake news’ phenomena, global warming and racism will be broached by the assessment.

Schleicher argues that schools are “central” to the teaching of global competency

The concept is based on four aspects, which together create a picture of global competence, the OECD’s director of Education and Skills Andreas Schleicher wrote in a blog post.

These pillars are the examination of local, global and culturally significant issues; the understanding and appreciation of the perspectives and world views of others; cross-cultural engagement; and the ability to take action for collective well-being and sustainable development.

Schleicher argues that schools are “central” to the teaching of these skills, as they can be a place where social media skills and “intercultural sensitivity” can be effectively taught, and therefore it is relevant to test these aptitudes in the PISA.

The assessment will take place over two tests. A cognitive test will ask students to “critically examine news articles about global issues; recognise outside influences on perspectives and world views; understand how to communicate with others in intercultural contexts”.

The second part, a background questionnaire, will ask questions of students’ awareness of global events, linguistic competence, and what values they hold dear, among others.

The PISA is used to construct a global league table of students’ skills around the world. Maths, science and reading have been the key measures in the past. Nations such as Finland, South Korea and Singapore have traditionally topped the results tables on proficiency in these areas, but some analysts have posited that the inclusion of global competency may mean a change in the 2019 table (results are released the year after testing).

The PISA is taken by students across all 34 OECD member states, as well as many partner nations such as Russia and Brazil.


The OECD declined to answer further questions from The PIE News. 

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