My name is Kathleen and I am in the final year of my PhD in Translation Studies. My thesis focuses on the critical analysis of translational and cultural issues in PISA, the Programme for International Student Assessment. As PISA’s validity as a cross-cultural comparative assessment system depends entirely on equivalence between all translated language versions of the test, the first part of my thesis is focused on the linguistic premises this dependence is based on; premises which appear uncritically assumed by the OECD, the organisation that develops and conducts PISA.
As translation is the very tool that enables internationally conducted, cross-cultural assessments, in my research I also examine the extent to which Translation Studies ought to inform intergovernmental organisations such as the OECD in their development and implementation of student assessments in order to eliminate cultural bias in the test itself, if that is ever possible. Additionally, I seek to address the impact the OECD’s advocacy of a single global knowledge system and “general competencies” has on education worldwide and more importantly on local knowledge systems.