Yong Zhao writes here about the international test called PISA, which is used to rank, rate and stigmatize entire national systems of education. Its scores are based on a standardized test, of course, which contains the usual flaws of such tests.

His article is called “Two Decades of Havoc.”

Scholars have criticized PISA since it started, but once the global horse race started, there was no slowing it down. PISA now drives every nation to compete for higher scores, in a “race to the top” that very few can win. The critics have been ignored.

It is a stupid metric. Should we really long to be like Estonia? Can all of education be boiled down to questions on a test? What do the results tell us about the future? Nothing, really. When the first international test was given in mathematics in 1964, the U.S. came in last. And over the next 50 years, the U.S. economy surpassed the nations with higher math scores.