09 SES 11 A, Findings From International Comparative Achievement Studies (Part 2): Investigating Construct Dimensions and Relations in Comparative and Contrastive Perspectives
Symposium continued from 09 SES 10 A
International comparative studies of educational achievement usually have multiple purposes and may have impact on educational policy and practice in various ways (see e.g. Plomp, Howie, & McGaw, 2003).
First, the ‘mirror’ function – descriptive comparisons with other countries might serve to identify particular aspects of a national system that could be considered problematic because they are out of line with what is found in other countries (e.g., the content of a curriculum, achievement levels of target persons). A second function is monitoring, which involves the assessment of educational processes on different levels in the education system with the purpose of making informed decisions about change when and where it is needed. A cycle of regular assessments in target domains that are being monitored to provide trend data is needed to do this. Organizations conducting international comparative studies of educational achievement such as the IEA and the OECD value this function and are committed to cyclical study designs. Third, findings from these studies can contribute to our understanding of differences between or within education systems, which should be helpful in making decisions about the organization of formal learning environments (for instance schools), the deployment of resources, and the practice of teaching. Fourth, variation between educational systems revealed in international comparative studies can be taken as a starting point for research ("the world as a laboratory"), leading to a better understanding of the factors that contribute to the effectiveness of education. Finally, international comparative achievement studies also serve to promote general 'enlightenment'. In this case there is not a direct link to decisions, but rather a gradual diffusion of ideas into the sphere of organizational decision making. In this view, the findings of international studies may contribute to clarifying policy makers' assumptions about what learning environments try to achieve, what they actually achieve, and what is possible to achieve, as well as to enriching public discussion about education.
For this symposium we have invited national research coordinators and national project managers from international comparative achievement studies as well as colleagues working on in-depth secondary analyses in this field to prepare contributions to be included in thematic sessions for which we suggest as umbrella theme: Towards explaining achievement: inferring cause and effect in the context of cross-sectional surveys and in particular the challenges inherent in drawing conclusions, given the complexity of educational systems and teaching/learning environments.
The eight papers to be presented in this symposium have been organized in two thematic sessions. This is the proposal for the second session.
Plomp, T., Howie, S.J., & McGaw, B. (2003). International Studies of Educational achievements. In D. Stufflebeam & T. Kellaghan (Eds.), International Handbook on Educational Evaluation (pp. 951-978). Dordrecht, the Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
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