Home' Policy Magazine : Policy Vol 34 - No 1 Contents 29
POLICY • Vol. 34 No. 1 • Autumn 2018
BLAISE JOSEPH AND JENNIFER BUCKINGHAM
There is little doubt Australia’s performance in
international rankings has seriously declined, but
this is not the World Cup. The trend in Australia’s
own absolute performance is more important,
and perhaps the greatest benefit of international
standardised tests like PISA is to provide an objective
measure of a country’s academic achievement over
time. On this measure, unfortunately, Australia’s
trend is clearly downward, but blindly copying
Finland and having more playtime is not the answer.
Education: The Role of Effort on the Test Itself (Washington
DC: National Bureau of Economic Research, 2017), http://
7 Kari Astala et al, ‘The PISA survey tells only a partial truth
of Finnish children’s mathematical skills’ (8 August 2005),
8 Yle, ‘Study: Two-thirds of ninth graders unable to calculate
percentages’ (25 April 2016)., https://yle.fi/uutiset/osasto/
9 OECD, PISA 2015; International Association for the
Evaluation of Educational Achievement, TIMMS 2015
International Results in Science, TIMMS 2015 International
Results in Mathematics, PIRLS 2016 International Results in
10 Phillip H.K. Seymour, M. Aro and J.M. Erskine,
‘Foundation literacy acquisition in European orthographies’,
British Journal of Psychology 94:Pt2 (May 2003), 143-174;
Marja-Kristiina Lerkkanen, ‘Learning to Read: Reciprocal
Processes and Individual Pathways’, Jyvaskyla Studies in
Education Pyschology and Social Research 233 (University
of Jyvaskyla, 2003).
11 P. Saukkonen and A. Raikkala, Finnish Orthography and
the Letters S and Z (Research Institute for the Languages
of Finland, 1998).
12 Lerkkanen, Learning to Read’; Heikke Lyytinen et al,
‘Children’s language development and reading acquisition
in a highly transparent orthography’, in R. Malatesha Joshi
and P.G. Aaron (eds), Handbook of Orthography and Literacy
(New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum, 2006).
13 Seymour, Aro and Erskine, ‘Foundation literacy acquisition’,
14 OECD, ‘ Tax Database: Table II.1. Statutory corporate
income tax rate’ (2017),
II1; World Health Organisation, ‘Life expectancy at birth
(years), 2000–2015’ (2016), http://gamapserver.who.
html; OECD, ‘CO4.4: Teenage suicides (15–19 years
old)’ (2017). https://www.oecd.org/els/family/CO_4 _4_
Teenage-Suicide.pdf p. 2
15 Pasi Sahlberg, ‘Global Education Reform Movement is
here!’ (2012), https://pasisahlberg.com/global-educational-
16 Tim Oates, Finnish Fairy Stories (Cambridge Assessment,
April 2015), http://www.cambridgeassessment.org.uk/
17 Gabrielle Heller Sahlgren, Real Finnish Lessons:
The true story of an education superpower (Surrey:
Centre for Policy Studies, 2015), http://www.cps.
18 OECD, ‘Is too much testing bad for student performance
and well-being?’ (2017), http://www.oecd-ilibrary.
19 Thomson et al, PIRLS 2016, 18.
1 Latika Bourke, ‘Finnish education expert critical of
NAPLAN ahead of his move to Australia’, The Sydney
Morning Herald (20 January 2018), http://www.smh.com.
3 SueThomson, Lisa De Bortoli and Catherine Underwood,
PISA 2015: Reporting Australia’s Results (Melbourne:
Australian Council for Education Research, 28, 105,
160; Sue Thomson, Nicole Wernert, Elizabeth O’Grady
and Sima Rodrigues, TIMMS 2015: Reporting Australia’s
Results (Melbourne: Australian Council for Education
Research, 15 March 2017), 15, 47, 84, 118; Sue Thomson,
Kylie Hillman, Marina Schmid, Sima Rodrigues and
Jessica Fullarton, PIRLS 2016: Reporting Australia’s Results
(Melbourne: Australian Council for Education Research,
4 OECD, PISA 2015 Results (Volume I): Annex B (2016), Table
I.2.4a, Table I.5.4a, Table I.4.4a , http://www.oecd.org/
en.htm; International Association for the Evaluation of
Educational Achievement, TIMMS 2015 International
Results in Science: Trends in Science Achievement (2016),
in-science-achievement/; International Association for
the Evaluation of Educational Achievement, TIMMS
2015 International Results in Mathematics: Trends in
Mathematics Achievement (2016), http://timssandpirls.
achievement/; International Association for the Evaluation
of Educational Achievement, PIRLS 2016 International
Results in Reading: Trends in Reading Achievement (2016),
5 Thomson et al, PISA 2015, 28, 105, 160; Thomson et al,
TIMMS 2015,15, 84; Thomson et al, PIRLS 2016, 16.
6 Uri Gneezy, John A. List, Jeffrey A. Livingston, Sally
Sadoff, Xiangdong Qin and Yang Xu, Measuring Success in
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