Towards an education approach à la finlandaise? French education policy after PISA

Other title(s): Towards an education approach à la finlandaise? French education policy after PISA

Author(s): Dobbins, Michael; Martens, Kerstin

Date: 2012

Pages: p. 23-43

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In this article, we address whether international student comparisons have changed the dynamics of French secondary education policy. We focus on the increasingly significant impact of the Organization for Economic Cooperation Development (OECD)'s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) on France, a country previously known for its aversion to international comparisons and its turbulent relationship with the OECD. We argue that not only are transnational pressures - in our study the perception of PISA - crucial determinants for the fate of potential reform measures, but also the capacity of the state to transform its education system and take corrective measures. Along these lines, we also examine the role of historically embedded guiding principles of education, in the French case most notably that of equality (égalité). We focus, in particular, on efforts of French policy-makers to emulate elements of the recent 'PISA champion' Finland.

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