A better arms race to have. Being an Indian, I myself have appeared for a number of highly competitive tests. I have also been witness to the pride parents take in the scores and ranks of their children.
But to say these countries are living in ‘edutopia’ is to miss the point. While the rankings are commendable, critics often point out the weaknesses of the standardised testing on which TIMSS and PISA scoring is based; according to this line of argument, the tests measure students’ aptitude to take tests, rather than academic aptitude. To some, Singapore and its peers are mere beacons of rote learning. Additionally, the results may reflect a country’s superficial desire to perform well in the rankings, rather than a commitment to improving national standards of education.