PISA-Based Test for Schools


PISA based test for schools


The PISA-Based Test for Schools is a student assessment tool geared for use by schools and networks of schools to support research, benchmarking and school improvement efforts. In the United States, the assessment is known as the OECD Test for Schools (based on PISA). The assessment tool provides descriptive information and analyses on the skills and creative application of knowledge of 15-year-old students in reading, mathematics, and science, comparable to existing PISA scales (when administered under appropriate conditions). 

It also provides information on how different factors within and outside school associate with student performance. Contextual questionnaires geared for students are an important part of the assessment, collecting information about students’ socio-economic backgrounds, their attitudes and interests in reading, science and mathematics and the learning environment at school. For more information, click here.


How is the assessment based on PISA?

The school-level assessment is intended to be complementary to the main PISA studies by making PISA-Based Test for School results more accessible to a wider audience and empowering local educators to participate in and contribute to policy debates in their countries. The relevance of the tool to local educators is its link to the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and the international results published every three years. To learn more about PISA, watch this video.

The PISA-Based Test for Schools is based on the main PISA assessment frameworks, but the assessments are different. One of the main differences is that the PISA-Based Test for Schools is designed to provide results for schools and not to provide aggregate national or system-level results.

The PISA-Based Test for Schools is not the same as the national PISA cycles and participation in one assessment should not be confused with the other.


The assessment tool

The OECD Secretariat has developed guidelines that have been reviewed by the PISA Governing Board for public availability of the assessment in countries that adopt it. These guidelines address aspects such as the proper uses of the assessment, of the “PISA” brand and the appropriate public communication of schools’ results from the assessment.

Schools that implement the assessment work with their country's service provider to make sure that quality standards and procedures are followed in preparation for the test administration and on the day of testing. The minimum target number of students tested at each school is 85 but this varies depending on the specific characteristics of the school.

For the assessment, students respond to approximately 2 hours of test questions in reading, mathematics and science and answer a 30-minute student questionnaire that is an important part of the assessment. Overall, the testing experience for a student lasts approximately 3 to 3.5 hours (with instructions and break periods).


Try out a selection of PISA-Based Test for Schools reading, mathematics & science questions:

Answer PISA-Based Test for School questions, discover their level of difficulty, the concepts being tested and the percentage of students across the world that manage to reach the same level.


For more information on the assessment and to see the type of results and information provided to schools from the assessment, you can look through the following example school reports here:

-        School report US sample e-book 1

-        School report US sample e-book 2

-        School report England sample e-book 3



Andreas Schleicher, Director of the OECD Directorate for Education and Skills, on the PISA-Based Test for Schools


 School leaders speaking about their participation in the pilot and the relevance of the assessment tool


 Learning from the PISA-Based Test for Schools: Improving student reading performance



A toolkit, published by EdLeader21 with guidance of the OECD, walks districts and school leaders through the steps leading up to administering the assessment and answers questions such as: how can district and school leaders launch an effective programme of using the PISA-Based Test for Schools; what are the most effective tactics for administering the test and communicating to parents; how to best glean meaningful insights from the comprehensive school report; and what are the most effective strategies to best exploit test results in order to improve student learning?


Country-specific information on the assessment  

United-States‌  United States of America


 United Kingdom 


 Spain Spain 


Global Learning Network

A learning network for participants who administer the PISA-Based Test for Schools, called the Global Learning Network , was established towards the end of 2013 by America Achieves . Two virtual seminars and one in-person seminar for members of the network have been held in 2014. The seminars have become a forum for educators throughout the United States to reflect on their own practices and listen to talks from OECD experts and other global experts on learning.

  • March 2014: Members of the network discussed how to prepare students for a changing world, including the need for building critical thinking and complex problem-solving skills. 
  • July 2014: School and district leaders discussed how to understand their results from the assessment and use the school reports from the OECD test for improvement efforts. 
  • September 2014: The in-person convening of the network drew over 300 senior representatives from 25 States that had carried out the first full wave of the assessment. “Convening of World Leading Schools” featured working sessions designed to help schools translate findings from their PISA-Based Test for Schools results into concrete practice shifts that improve teaching and learning.


For questions, comments or to find out more about the assessment, please contact: