- The United States has opted out of a global assessment to see whether students can identify fake news.
- It is a new part of the OECD’s “global competence test” for 15-year-olds.
- It also measures respect for other cultures and ability to resist extremism.
- Canada, Australia, Scotland, and 25 other countries are taking it.
- England, Belgium, and Japan have opted out as well.
- Sample questions are published below.
The Trump administration has opted out of a global, standardised test which would assess whether school-age children can identify fake news.
US education authorities decided not to include a “global competence test” developed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), in standardised tests used to compare education systems around the world.
The test includes sections on cultural awareness, the ability to resist extremism, and whether students can identify fake news.
The United States was named as one of the countries refusing, alongside England, Belgium, and Japan, according to OECD data seen by Business Insider.
Australia, Canada, Singapore, the Philippines, and 24 other countries will take the test.
The fake news element tests skills like whether a student can tell when data is being presented in a misleading way, and whether students can distinguish between facts, opinions, and propaganda.
Some other countries, such as Germany and France, opted to administer a questionnaire on students’ cultural attitudes and interest in global news, but not the “cognitive test,” which asks students to spot fake news.
- Charles Platiau/Reuters
The OECD hoped that the test, which launches this year, would be taken alongside the organisation’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) test, which is used to compare education systems.
The US and other countries will continue taking those tests, which rank maths, science, and reading ability, among other metrics.
It’s administered to 15-year-olds in 72 countries across the world. Singapore, Canada and Finland are among the best global performers.
A spokesman for the US Department of Education told Business Insider it decided not to participate in the test because it had yet to prove its “technical stability.”
He said: “We consider it to be an important innovation, but we want to allow it time to develop and crystalize into an operationalized assessment with a solid empirical foundation to validate its technical stability.”
A spokeswoman for the Department for Education in England told BI: “All schools are already required to teach pupils to have a mutual respect and tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs, so in order to not place additional burden on them, we will not be taking part in this smaller scale Global Competence assessment.”
Governments and tech companies have ramped up their fight against fake news over the past few months.
Facebook recently announced it would ask users to rank their trust in news outlets, and British Prime Minister Theresa May said she would set up a government unit to combat disinformation from state actors, like Russia.
Take a look at some sample questions on the global competence test, which were published in an OECD slideshow last month:
Q1. On fake news:
Q2. On cultural awareness and sensitivity:
Questionnaire on interest in news and respect for global cultures: