Policy options for Turkey: a critique of the interpretation and utilization of PISA results in Turkey

Gür B. S., Çelik Z., Ozoglu M.

JOURNAL OF EDUCATION POLICY, vol.27, no.1, pp.1-21, 2012 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 27 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/02680939.2011.595509
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.1-21
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: No


In this article we provide a critique of the interpretation and utilization of Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) results by the National Education Authorities in Turkey. First, we define and explain what OECD's PISA is. Second, we make an overview of the media coverage in Turkey of the PISA 2003 and 2006 results. Third, we present the way in which Turkish officials have interpreted and used PISA 2003 and 2006 results. By examining the public documents, such as official reports or news bulletins published by the Ministry, we conclude that the educational authorities had already decided to proceed with reform of the old curriculum much before the PISA 2003 results were out, and they made use of the PISA 2003 results to justify the curriculum reform. Finally, by presenting the policy recommendations of Turkey's national reports and articles as well as the international organizations, such as the World Bank and OECD for the Turkey's educational system, we question the suitability of various policy recommendations developed for Turkey based on PISA results. Based on a comparative analysis of PISA, Third International Study on Mathematics and Science (TIMSS) and national exam results, the authors conclude that the issue of providing quality education should not be reduced only to the form and quality of the curriculum.