Manifesto against PISA and the Standardization Framework of Education in the World (versión español más abajo/version en français ci-dessous/abaixo versao em portugues)
In view of the release of the 2015 results of the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), we, the undersigned, declare our absolute rejection of the tests, its national versions, and the homogenizing impact it has on educational systems.
PISA is a standardized test given every three years to 15 year-old students. The PISA testing began in 2000, and since then more than 70 countries have participated. In order to participate, each country must have a specialized technical team and pay for administration of the test. Presently, the OECD, which in charge of the PISA test, has contracted with Pearson, a transnational education corporation, for the development of the 2018 version.
Moreover, the results of PISA have often been included in analyses of the economic competitiveness of countries.
Since PISA’s first implementation, we have observed several anomalies:
1. Politico-educational: Ministries of Education have limited control of this assessment, which contributes to an intensification of standardization of educational processes and measurements. Over time international organizations such as the OECD have imposed changes in educational policies throughout the world, aligning educational processes to a limited conception of progress. This standardization includes the creation or adaptation of national testing to a global parameter that is shaped by the pressure of international rankings. Moreover, the standardization has significantly increased the role of private companies that have marginalized the ministries of education, teachers unions and schools from the leadership of educational policies and programs. Additionally, teacher education and professional development have been aligned with standardized tests. In short, these policies and their underlying logic narrow teaching and learning and undermine integral and holistic child development, rooted in a critical historical-social consciousness.
2. Technical: PISA promotes rankings of countries based on the results. This practice ignores the enormous cultural differences, world views and characteristics of each national context. The result is that these tests do not meet minimal criteria of validity and reliability.
3. Pedagogical: the regime of high stakes standardized test and the corresponding program and policies changes have radically transformed the nature of education in our schools. The curriculum has been narrowed eliminating subjects like arts, music, philosophy and history. Learning time has been reprioritized to focus on practice tests and activities to obtain higher scores. It should be noted that these measurements are not subject to social or pedagogical discretion. These measurements do not take into account social context and values or diverse pedagogical practices.
4. Social and Psychological: PISA and its national versions discriminate, pressure, and stigmatize regions, countries and populations through the comparisons of test results. The pressure to obtain high scores ultimately falls on the communities of teachers and students, institutionalizing a regime of high stress that destroys school climate and the emotional stability of our schools. These standardized tests have deepened practices of exclusion and segregation in our schools, robbing students of their right to an education.

For these reasons, we demand the cancellation of the contracts signed by the various governments with the OECD. We also demand the termination high impact standardized tests at the national level.

We support the creation of schools that work towards the transformation of education for social justice. We also want to express our commitment to public education as a social right, an education that promotes in all its forms the social, historical and cultural diversity of our peoples. We denounce the repressive actions that several countries and authorities have unleashed against various social movements, including teacher and student movements that have protested against various forms of neoliberal standardization.

Evaluation systems should be rooted in communities, observe the complexity of teaching and learning, and promote an education respectful of all human and social rights. Only in this way do we shape full citizens.

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