Education in the news and in the mind. PISA, news media and public opinion in Norway, Sweden and Finland
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionNordicom Review. 2012, 33 (1), 99-116.
The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) has gained popularity in educational debates, and scholars argue that the tests influence national educational governance. It has further been claimed that PISA has penetrated the news media and that public opinion on education has been affected, but few have offered empirical evidence for such arguments. The present study contributes to the area by investigating the relationship between (i) news consumption and public awareness of PISA, and between (ii) awareness of PISA and public opinion on education in Norway, Sweden and Finland. The findings suggest that consumption of newspapers and public service TV (PBS) news is positively associated with awareness of PISA; consumption of commercial TV news is negatively associated with awareness of PISA. Further, “PISA effects” on public opinion are dependent upon news consumption and political considerations. The most significant relationship is found in Norway, where mass political polarization is stronger among respondents who are aware of PISA, compared to those who are not.