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The OECD and IELS: Redefining early childhood education for the 21st century

Auld, E; Morris, P; (2019) The OECD and IELS: Redefining early childhood education for the 21st century. Policy Futures in Education , 17 (1) pp. 11-26. 10.1177/1478210318823949. Green open access

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Abstract

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has unveiled plans to move into the field of early childhood education through the introduction of the International Early Learning Study (IELS), a new comparative test of five-year olds that is being piloted in three nations. This article explores the dynamics of this new project and serves three purposes. First, we situate IELS within the OECD’s broader agenda in education governance, and with regard to its existing comparative assessments, namely the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). Second, we identify the main commentaries and critiques of the OECD’s activity and assessments, specifically relating to PISA. In the concluding section we anticipate a possible future when such tests are established in the early childhood education sector and reflect on its possible impact. We argue that the advent of comparative testing of five-year olds heralds an attempt to introduce a new paradigm for early childhood education, one which stresses cognitive skills and children’s role as future sources of human capital.

Type: Article
Title: The OECD and IELS: Redefining early childhood education for the 21st century
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/1478210318823949
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1177/1478210318823949
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: International Early Learning Study, OECD, governance, early childhood education
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Education, Practice and Society
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10066928
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