Journal of Educational Change

, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp 359–364 | Cite as

What PISA really evaluates: literacy or students’ universes of reference?

  • Elisabeth Bautier
  • Patrick Rayou

The PISA exam foregrounds student performance in the area of mastery of written language. It does so with an approach that is all the more convincing because the items it proposes, even though they presuppose mastery of processes normally taught in school, are from “natural” contexts with which adolescents should be familiar, so that they will not be a priori advantaged or penalized by their stronger or weaker school competencies. But can literate competencies be reduced to what has been learned in school? Certainly, not. They mobilize, at least as much, ways of being with language, of course, but also and more surreptitiously ways of being in the world, in culture, and in values linked to particular modes of socialization, which reveal themselves in a tight (and differentiating) relation to students’ responses. Thus, while the question of intercultural difference so often waved around in relation to the PISA results is interesting and doubtless important in order to better understand...


Test Item Immigrant Student Cognitive Competency School Knowledge School Situation 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ESCOL-ESSI Research GroupUniversity of Paris 8Saint-Denis CedexFrance

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