A Two-Edged Sword
Comparative Assessment Frameworks And Language Education
The last two decades have seen the growing use of assessment in the shaping of educational policy in relation to languages. The clearest examples of this in Europe and beyond are the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR: Council of Europe, 2001) and the OECD PISA program for testing reading skills of 15 year olds in OECD member countries. What are the positive and negative impacts of such developments? What social, political and cultural values do such assessments embody? The paper examines these issues by considering the impact of PISA testing in Austria, and demonstrates how its results are interpreted within prevailing discourses on immigration and education within Austrian society. It further compares the values implicit in the PISA assessments with those implicit in the CEFR, and argues that both assessment schemes are directed at the furthering of the process of globalization.
Published online: 24 March 2014