Policy makers in the West often believe that the test scores of pupils and students in TIMMS and PISA says something about future wealth creation.
New research shows that there is no correlation between these tests scores on the one hand and innovation and economic growth on the other for the rich, industrialized countries.
I would argue that these policy makers mix the terms knowledge and competence. Companies need people who have the ability to learn and adapt to a changing environment. Knowing how to score well on tests in school is a different skill altogether.
In other words: There are cultural factors that count more than factual knowledge when developing innovation competences.
Moreover, from the discussion of the Nordic Model and Nordic economic success, we see that there are other framework conditions that contribute to innovation and wealth creation, such as a stable socio-economic environment, trust in public institutions and social welfare.
I have written a blog post on this topic for Innovation Norway's innovation policy blog:http://innovasjonsbloggen.com/2013/01/11/kunnskap-er-ikke-det-samme-som-kompetanse/
The blog post is in Norwegian, but the New Scientist article I refer to can be found below.