lewis-pisaforschools-2016.pdf (358.41 kB)
PISA for schools: topological rationality and new spaces of the OECD’s global educational governance
journal contributionposted on 2016-02-01, 00:00 authored by Steven Lewis, S Sellar, B Lingard
This article examines the OECD’s new PISA-based Test for Schools (“PISA for Schools”) program. PISA for Schools is part of the expanding education work of the OECD, building upon main PISA to enable school-to-schooling system comparisons. We examine the development of PISA for Schools, the nature of the instrument, and some initial effects of its introduction. Our theoretical framework focuses on new spatialities associated with globalization and the emergence of topological rationalities and heterarchical modes of governance. We analyze 33 interviews with personnel at the OECD and relevant edubusinesses, not-for-profit organizations, and philanthropic foundations. Pertinent documents and web-based media are also analyzed. We suggest that PISA for Schools provides an exemplary demonstration of heterarchical governance, in which vertical policy mechanisms open up horizontal spaces for new policy actors. It also creates commensurate spaces of comparison and governance, enabling the OECD to “reach into” school- level spaces and directly influence local educational practices.