G.F. Brandenburg, as you would expect, has a pithy and wise commentary about the PISA scores.

Here are his first three observations:

“1. There is a lot of evidence that being a good test-taker does not necessarily overlap with other desirable properties, either on the individual level or on the local or national or international level.

2. A lot of silly things are read into comparing how many questions they get right in one country versus another.

3. The United States has now TEN FULL YEARS in which it has based essentially ALL educational decisions on test scores, with a small but well-funded and powerful group claiming that it would produce miracles in raising American students’ test scores on every level that they can be measured.”

And here is his most brilliant, unforgettable, unassailable point:

“Arne Duncan and his ilk say that the fact that the same approach has failed for 10 straight years, means we need to keep doing it harder. Sensible people would say no, let’s forget about measuring with stupid standardized tests. Let the kids learn, remember that humans LOVE to learn stuff — it’s what we do as a species. And precisely nobody knows what knowledge of today is going to be the most useful or fun tomorrow. So let’s get rid of the idiotic focus on standardized tests and Big Data, and stop wasting so much money and time and energy on them. We’ve got all sorts of art and sports and drama and dance and music and technology and building stuff and real science and history and psychology to learn and to perform.”