Evidence-based decision making or a tunnel vision effect? TIMSS, problem definition and policy change in Israeli mathematics education

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study examines the influence of the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) 1999 results on mathematics education policy in Israel. Analyzing various documents, the study shows how these results transformed policymakers’ discourse regarding mathematics education. In order to achieve improvement in Israel’s ranking, the middle school mathematics curriculum was aligned with the TIMSS test. Following this change, the scores of Israeli students rose considerably in TIMSS 2011. Parallel results from Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and Israeli internal standardized tests, however, do not show comparable improvement in mathematics achievement. High school matriculation data for the same period of time show a decline in the percentage of students who took the most advanced mathematics courses. Furthermore, none of these data sources show any noticeable reduction in social inequality in mathematics achievement. On the basis of theoretical insights from political science, it is argued that international tests influence the way educational problems are framed and defined. Thus, instead of enriching educational decision-making processes, these tests can create a tunnel vision effect that restricts policymakers’ attention to ‘problems’ and ‘solutions’ defined by the tests themselves.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-379
Number of pages17
JournalCritical Studies in Education
Volume61
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 26 May 2020

Keywords

  • Assessment
  • comparative and international education
  • educational policy
  • globalisation and internationalisation
  • mathematics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Evidence-based decision making or a tunnel vision effect? TIMSS, problem definition and policy change in Israeli mathematics education'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this