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Abstract

The media analysis is situated in the larger body of studies that explore the varied reasons why different policy actors advocate for international large-scale student assessments (ILSAs) and adds to the research on the fast advance of the global education industry. The analysis of The Economist, Financial Times, and Wall Street Journal covers publications on 'PISA', 'TIMSS', and related search items over the period 1996–2016. The three media outlets vary in terms of ILSA reporting. The Economist and Financial Times tend to focus on PISA, whereas the Wall Street Journal pays greater attention to TIMSS than PISA. The content analysis of 59 articles yields interesting results about how the business-oriented readership of the three media outlets frames public education and why it sees education as a profitable business opportunity. The three most common narratives, reflecting the business logic, are the following: (i) public education is in crisis; (ii) there is no correlation between spending and education outcome; and (iii) school accountability, teacher performance, and decentralisation represent the most effective policies to improve the quality of education. Drawing on these three common narratives, the financial media outlets present a particular vision of how to improve education; a vision in which the private sector is supposed to play a major role.

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