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Global Learning Metrics

Global Learning Metrics - Controversy

Global Learning Metrics - Controversy
Albeiro Rodas

Is it possible, and is it desirable, to measure students around the world by the same learning outcomes and metrics? Here we feature interviews with two leading thinkers on opposing sides of this issue, courtesy of the FreshEd podcast. 

Contributed by: Eric Hanushek, Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University and David Edwards, Deputy General Secretary of Education International

The Sustainable Development Goals for education call on governments around the world to achieve a certain set of learning outcomes for their students, and to measure those learning outcomes in ways that can be quantified and compared internationally. This raises the prospect of global learning metrics—standardized indicators of learning on a global scale.

But is such an endeavour possible, or even desirable? A great deal of controversy has already been generated around this issue. In addition to the IIEP Learning Portal’s own 2016 international e-forum on a global framework for measuring learning, the Comparative and International Education Society also hosted a 2016 symposium on the desirability of global learning metrics. Videos of the plenary sessions can be found at this link, and the podcast FreshEd also features individual interviews with the symposium’s key invited speakers.

Here, the IIEP Learning Portal offers access to the contrasting interviews with Eric Hanushek, educational economist and Paul and Jean Hanna Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University, and with David Edwards, of the global federation of teacher unions Education International.

Listen to their interviews on FreshEd, or take a look below at the excerpted transcriptions of their remarks. For more on the views of each speaker at the CIES symposium, you can see their position statements here.


“You can’t improve a system if
you don’t know where you’re at.” 

 Eric Hanushek, Senior Fellow at the
 Hoover Institution of Stanford University

 “That’s like saying: ‘We have
  a sick patient—we need more

  David Edwards, Deputy General Secretary
  of Education International