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Publication Detail
Is Canada really an education superpower? The impact of non-participation on results from PISA 2015
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
  • Authors:
    Anders J, Has S, Jerrim J, Shure N, Zieger L
  • Publication date:
  • Journal:
    Educational Assessment, Evaluation and Accountability
  • Status:
  • Print ISSN:
© 2020, The Author(s). The purpose of large-scale international assessments is to compare educational achievement across countries. For such cross-national comparisons to be meaningful, the participating students must be representative of the target population. In this paper, we consider whether this is the case for Canada, a country widely recognised as high performing in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). Our analysis illustrates how the PISA 2015 sample for Canada only covers around half of the 15-year-old population, compared to over 90% in countries like Finland, Estonia, Japan and South Korea. We discuss how this emerges from differences in how children with special educational needs are defined and rules for their inclusion in the study, variation in school participation rates and the comparatively high rates of pupils’ absence in Canada during the PISA study. The paper concludes by investigating how Canada’s PISA 2015 rank would change under different assumptions about how the non-participating students would have performed were they to have taken the PISA test.
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