Thailand Mulls Pisa Test Opt Out for 2018

The Ministry of Education has asked the organisers of the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) to let them proofread the exam papers in advance.
Thailand Mulls Pisa Test Opt Out for 2018
By Veathika
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Thailand has said it is considering exiting the 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa).

Thailand has asked the organisers of Pisa to give its Ministry of Education access to exam papers in advance so that they may be proof read.

Thailand has been participating in the tests since 2000.

Education Minister Teerakiat Jareonsetta confirmed that he has sent a request to the organiser.

"I am aware that examination papers should be kept secret. However, if the translation quality is poor and not done by linguistic experts, our students may not be able to understand the questions perfectly. If that's the case the test won't reflect their true abilities which is not fair on Thai students."

Mr Jareonsetta added that the wording of the examination paper is crucial because the Pisa test does not draw on memorisation. Instead, it tests analytical skills in maths, science and reading.

"We think the Education Ministry needs to make sure the translated version is correct and comprehensible first and foremost. Critics often disregard the issue of the language barrier and have used the country's poor performance in Pisa to attack the government for failing to provide quality education," he said.

The Ministry has also requested that Thailand exclude Pisa scores of students from small-sized schools in rural areas, while calculating the overall score for the nation. This would put Thailand on the same footing as Vietnam.

Pisa is funded by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Every three years it tests the proficiency in mathematics, sciences and reading of more than half a million 15-year-olds across 70 countries.

In the latest Pisa survey in 2015, Thailand ranked 54th in maths and sciences and 57th in reading. Overall, Thailand's rank was 54th, far below other Asian countries. Singapore was the top performer in all three subjects, followed by Japan in second place. Taiwan came in fourth, China in sixth and Vietnam in eighth.

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