The Impact of PISA on Countries’ Choice of Reference Societies in Education analysed in a new open-access article by Íris Santos and Vera G. Centeno

Through a systematic literature review EduKnow members Íris Santos and Vera G. Centeno analyse peer-reviewed research articles exploring  the impacts that PISA has been having the the choice of the reference societies used in the discussion of education. The article is titled “Inspirations from abroad: the impact of PISA on countries’ choice of reference societies in education” and is published open-access in Compare: A journal of Comparative and international Education.


The Programme of International Student Assessment (PISA) has instigated domestic policy debate aimed at improving education systems’ quality and efficiency. Its high performers are often described as knowledge-based legitimation tools that have become reference societies. This article analyses if and the extent to which PISA affects the choice of reference societies used in education policy. We conducted a systematic literature review of scholarly peer-reviewed journal articles. We identify two ways in which PISA affects the reference societies chosen: it builds but also triggers the collapse of the reference societies used in domestic education policy. However, there are also cases in which PISA has little influence on which countries or regions are used as references. The domestic processes of choosing the reference societies used in education policy emerge as more nuanced than first expected. This article provides a firm basis for a much-needed understanding of the topic.