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India's Bailing on the Most Influential International Standardized Test

After an embarrassing second-to-last finish on the 2009 PISA, India says its kids aren't prepared this year.


The second most populous nation in the world is giving a thumbs down to the standardized test used to measure and compare the academic performance of students from around the globe. India is backing out of this year's administration of the Program for International Student Assessment, a test run by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development that's given to 15-year-olds every three years.

You've probably heard about the PISA. The U.S. first started taking the test in 2000, and much has been made over our students not scoring the highest. We've never scored in the top spot on any international standardized test, but our average performance has become a sign that public education is failing. India, which first participated in the 2009 test, scored second to last out of 73 nations in reading, math, and science, only beating Kyrgyzstan.


As the Times of India reports, "sources said India shied away from the assessment as government officials felt our children were not prepared for such a test." Essentially, because of poor performance, they're backing out of the process.

Officially, PISA isn't in the business of ranking and comparing one nation to another. It's supposed to be about fostering collaboration and sharing best practices. To have India respond to the pressure of that second-to-last place finish and say their children aren't ready is a real sign that the way our culture is using testing results has veered pretty far off course. You have to wonder if other nations that are not scoring well will begin to follow suit.

Photo via (cc) Flickr user albertogp123