OECD: Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) by @TeacherToolkit

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If you are not familiar with the Paris-based (OECD) Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. I hope I can help you get to grips with the basics.

Here is my summary in order to understand the (PISA) Programme for International Student Assessment.

The following sentence is taking from the Pisa in Focus report from 2013.

“So if you ask why you should care about PISA results, consider your child’s future, your own performance in school or at work, and your country’s ability to compete in a globalised economy. That’s why you should care.”


Regardless of you opinion on league tables, the OECD provides us with a useful benchmark to compare standards of education in England and Wales, with other countries across the world. I would recommend at best, that all teachers have a periphery glance at this information and do ensure that they have an informed source of data to form an opinion, regardless of what it may be.

What has been reported today?

UK PISA scores and rankings
UK PISA scores and rankings

Stubborn gap!

“A stubborn gap in attainment … has pinned the UK to the middle of international education rankings, despite years of effort by successive governments to raise standards.” (Source)

Since 2000, the OECD has been measuring and evaluating the knowledge and skills of the world’s 15-year-olds through its ‘Programme for International Student Assessment’ (PISA) test. More than 500,000 students in 65 economies took part in the latest test, which covered maths, reading and science, with the main focus on maths.

Sixty-five countries and economies participated in PISA 2012 including all 34 OECD member countries.
Sixty-five countries and economies participated in PISA 2012 including all 34 OECD member countries.


Now that PISA is 10 years old, we can also map student performance/progress over time! PISA results reveal what is possible in education by showing what students in the highest-performing and most rapidly improving education systems can do.

PISA measures:

“Equally important, by comparing student performance and factors related to performance, such as students’ attitudes towards learning, their socio-economic background, and education policies, practices and resources across participating countries and economies, PISA offers policy makers and educators a way to identify the world’s most effective education policies that they can then adapt to their local contexts.”

Strong performers of the past:

“Over the years PISA has illustrated that strong performers in education – such as Canada, Finland, Hong Kong-China, Japan, Korea, New Zealand and Shanghai-China – are found in a variety of regions, have diverse cultural traditions and are at various stages of development.” (Source)

You can read the full PISA in Focus 2013 report here.

How the UK scored against other OECD countries?

How has UK education performed?
How has UK education performed?


  1. Who uses PISA tests in schools?
  2. How do we prepare for the tests?
  3. Can we question the validity of the data?
  4.  What do you think?


If you are not familiar with OECD, I do hope you found this a useful summary.

7 thoughts on “OECD: Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) by @TeacherToolkit

  1. Agree. Very important to be aware of this organisation the data collection that they are doing and publishing. Government and policy makers are using these statistics to justify significant structural changes in education. Although these statistics are interesting they are the key indicators that Government reports they are.

    Comparing South Korean students with Uk and pretending that their results are something we should aspire to, ignores the different outlook, attitudes and educational routines the two countries have. If lessons are to be learnt then let it happen between teachers… communicating and sharing via the net… About teaching… Sharing each other’s passions for teaching youth…

  2. Pingback: How does your country rank in reading, math and science? | 2eyeswatching
  3. Pingback: OECD: Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) by @TeacherToolkit | @ TeacherToolkit | Create Learning Partnership

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