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The Hard Work of Interpretation: the national politics of PISA reception in Hungary and Romania

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Eszter Neumann, Adel Kiss, Ildiko Fejes

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-242
JournalEuropean Educational Research Journal
Issue number2
PublishedJun 2012

King's Authors


This article discusses the dynamic interaction between global policy and knowledge flows and two post-communist education systems – Hungary and Romania – with special attention to the appropriation of post-bureaucratic regulation tools and the structural changes enhanced by the knowledge transmitted by the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) survey. First, through the lens of the socio-history of educational assessments, the varieties of state socialist education systems are detailed in order to contextualise the subsequent discussion about the entry of the two countries into the PISA survey and the national institutional changes generated by PISA. After the thematic comparison of the country case studies, the article concludes that the two cases do not allow the conceptualisation of a single post-socialist model of PISA reception, but, on the contrary, the international comparative framework of PISA offers an opportunity to critically interrogate the complex processes of convergence and divergence in the study of globalisation, and to elaborate a differentiated perspective on post-socialist education systems and governance strategies.

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