CRPP/OER Talk: PISA and Competitive Comparisons

CRPP/OER Talk: PISA and Competitive Comparisons

Date & Time

21 October 2015, 00:00




Office of Education Research (OER)



Events Details


Education reform is increasingly portrayed as a means to improve a nation’s global competitiveness as measured by its performance in international league tables of pupil achievement. This has created a demand for comparative research which identifies ‘what works’ in high performing school systems. Singapore and Hong Kong have been key sources of such referencing. A diverse array of consultancies, scholars, and think tanks has emerged to satisfy that demand, portraying their approach as a pragmatic and objective form of evidence-based policymaking. However, attempts to identify what works and what is transferrable face significant issues as they seek to derive simple answers from complex conditions. This presentation identifies the logic underlying such claims and the strategies used to address the issues and to advocate reforms. We demonstrate that, whilst persuasive, the strategies fundamentally fail to overcome the problems inherent in the enterprise. 



Professor Paul Morris is Professor of Education at the UCL Institute of Education.  Before joining the Institute in 2007, he worked in Hong Kong as the Dean of the Faculty of Education at the University of Hong Kong (1986-1992), and was President of the Hong Kong Institute of Education (2002-2007).

Dr Christine Han is Senior Lecturer in Education at the UCL Institute of Education.  Following her DPhil at the University of Oxford Department of Education Studies, she worked at the National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University. 


For enquiries, please email:

Dr. Maria Manzon at;

or Rifhan Miller at