League Tables and the Politics of Ranking

  • Marilyn Kell
  • Peter Kell
Part of the Education in the Asia-Pacific Region: Issues, Concerns and Prospects book series (EDAP, volume 24)


This chapter discusses the politics of testing where schools and students are assigned rankings. These ranking have implications for resources and the esteem and prestige of schools and are called high stakes tests. The chapter describes how these rankings in the context of what has been termed the “literacy wars” where traditional views about reading and writing conflict with other broader views of literacy.

These views emerge from changes in the nature and the character of work and are discussed in this chapter as the attributes that are required for entrants in the new workforce. Recall and memorisation, although valued in traditional school examinations are being supplanted by generic employment or soft skills. These soft skills include problem solving skills, communication strategies and abilities to work collaboratively. Employers and government in East Asia have criticised the quality of the skills of graduates and have called for more relevant and engaging school experiences that equip students for real life. These arguments are discussed in the context of graduate unemployment and calls for reforms in education in Asia.


Curriculum Reform League Table Soft Skill High Stake Testing Compensatory Program 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marilyn Kell
    • 1
  • Peter Kell
    • 2
  1. 1.Charles Darwin UniversityDarwinAustralia
  2. 2.School of EducationCharles Darwin UniversityDarwinAustralia

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