From our journals: A special issue on learning assessments for sustainability and more


Meghan Ensell

This month, after Climate Week and United Nations discussions about climate change, we focus on just that: the environment and sustainability as it relates to education. We also take a look at the invisibility of whiteness in the social studies curriculum. 

Introduction to the special issue: Learning assessments for sustainability? Exploring the interaction between two global movements
By: Oren Pizmony-Levy, Columbia University; Dafna Gan, Kibbutzim College of Education, Technology and the Arts
Published in: Education Policy Analysis Archives, Sept. 27, 2021

This special issue aims to examine the interaction between the environmental and sustainability education movement and the international large-scale assessments movement. Both global educational movements emerged in the 1960s and their simultaneous work has affected each other ever since. The researchers note that while the articles highlight the potential benefits of ILSAs as a source of data for secondary analysis, they also demonstrate the limitations of ILSAs and their negative consequences to ESE. Pizmony-Levy and Gan call for more research on the interaction between ESE and ILSAs, and for serious consideration of how test-based accountability practices might work against meaningful engagement with ESE.

Is youth pessimism good for the environment? Insights from PISA 2015
By: Margarita Pivovarova; Jeanne M. Powers and Ketevan Chachkhiani, ASU’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College
Published in: Education Policy Analysis Archives, Sept. 27, 2021

This study explores the potential of data from large-scale assessments to provide insights into how students’ environmental knowledge could address the global challenge of environmental threats to humanity and the transition to sustainable development. The researchers analyze data from the 2015 PISA survey to understand the extent to which 15-year-old students in 54 countries are aware of these challenges. They find that the students’ science activities, self-efficacy and environmental knowledge are positively associated with their awareness about environmental challenges. Students’ environmental awareness, in turn, is associated with environmental pessimism, or their outlook on the future of environmental issues. Students who are more engaged with environmental science are more aware of environmental issues and feel less optimistic that environmental issues will improve in the future. Such pessimistic attitudes, the researchers note, may be a precursor to pro-environmental behavior. Their results provide a cross-national picture of students’ engagement with environmental issues and insight into the potential of large-scale assessment data to inform environmental education policies promoted by individual countries and international organizations.

Review of Contesting the global development of sustainable and inclusive education: Education reform and challenges of neoliberal globalization
By: Mariángela Napoli and Judith Naidorf, University of Buenos Aires
Published in: Education Review, Sept. 29, 2021

Napoli and Naidorf sum up Teodoro’s volume in one sentence: “The author underscores the strong, often silenced concepts of social transformation, citizen participation, social justice, power relations and social conflicts in order to understand the political significance of governance in a global neoliberal context and its connections to education.” The reviewers describe feelings of hope after reading Teodoro’s work. “Knowing that there is an intellectual with a vast career who provides thorough alternatives to the neoliberal credo and continues to make important conceptual contributions to a better and more inclusive world,” Napoli and Naidorf say. 

Review of Marking the "invisible": Articulating whiteness in social studies education
By: Jean Swindle, East Tennessee State University
Published in: Education Review, Sept. 8, 2021

Swindle describes this volume as a “stem-to-stern review of the invisibility of whiteness in the social studies curriculum.” Contributors chronicle their evidence of invisible whiteness and whiteness in social studies and detail their emancipatory efforts and frameworks to counter them. Swindle notes that the extensiveness of the collection “bogged down this reader.” That said, Swindle says the gems of innovative research approaches and dialogue in this volume are counternarratives to whiteness and worth reading, taking note of and acting upon. 

About our journals

MLFTC sponsors three innovative, open-access journals on education scholarship. EPAA is a peer-reviewed, international, multilingual and multidisciplinary journal designed for researchers, practitioners, policymakers and development analysts concerned with education policies. Education Review publishes reviews of books on education topics and Acquired Wisdom essays by esteemed educational researchers, and CIE is a peer-reviewed journal led by MLFTC graduate students. 

Contact Stephanie McBride-Schreiner to learn more about our journals.