Social Indicators Research

, Volume 139, Issue 2, pp 825–845 | Cite as

A Cross-National Examination of the Effect of the Schwartz Cultural Dimensions on PISA Performance Assessments

  • Pascale BenolielEmail author
  • Izhak Berkovich


In recent years, PISA assessments have become more frequent, and transnational policy borrowing and policy adaptation have steadily increased, with implications on national education reform policies. The growing impact of globalization in education policy seems to have reinforced the underlying legitimacy of an educational world that lacks cultural diversity. This study seeks to highlight cultural dimensions as significant indicators of disparities in educational performance across countries in international tests. Combining data from the World Values Survey with the PISA scores, we examined how the Schwartz cultural dimensions relate to student PISA achievement at the national level. Results of regression analysis indicate that when controlling for GDP per capita, Conservatism (i.e., traditionalism, conformity, and security) remains the best predictor of PISA test results in the three core disciplines. Cultural dimensions in general, and Conservatism in particular, play a significant role in explaining academic achievements per country. Paradoxically, while globalization, in some instances, has led to positive educational policies and multicultural values that challenge Conservatism and Traditionalism, Conservatism may ultimately serve to build the group identity, social cohesion, and national solidarity necessary in this dynamic global era. This study emphasizes the need for comparative exploration that takes into account the influence of cultural dimensions at the national level. This is something that we hope will assist educational administrators to make their educational systems both more effective and more socially responsive.


Schwartz cultural dimensions PISA Comparative approach Indicators of performance Globalization 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Leadership and Policy, The School of EducationBar-Ilan UniversityRamat-GanIsrael
  2. 2.Department of Education and PsychologyThe Open University of IsraelRaananaIsrael

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