Beyond Gross National Product: An Exploratory Study of the Relationship between Program for International Student Assessment Scores and Well-being Indices

Chong Ho Yu


Because national intelligence is a crucial predictor of national wealth, the potential for international test scores to serve as a proxy measure of national cognitive capabilities has intrigued educational researchers. However, national wealth indexes, such as GDP or Purchasing Power Parity (PPP), are of limited use as indicators of quality of life. Since the late 20th and early 21st century, Europeans have been taking the lead in the movement of going beyond GDP by taking social and environmental indicators into account while measuring national progress. Guided by European principles, this study utilizes two indices, Human Development Index (HDI) and Happy Planet Index (HPI), to investigate the extent to which international test scores might predict national well-being. This exploratory study, utilizing correlation matrix, cluster analysis, and conditional regression, found that Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) scores collected in the year 2000 are a significant predictor of national well-being measured by HDI and HPI approximately a decade later. However, when cultural and geopolitical factors were taken into account, it was found that this relationship was not consistent across different subcomponents of HDI and HPI, and across different regions of the globe.

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Review of European Studies   ISSN 1918-7173 (Print)   ISSN 1918-7181 (Online)

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