PISA for Schools - FAQs

 

 

 

What is the PISA-based Test for Schools?

What is PISA?

What is the relationship between the PISA-based Test for Schools and PISA?

Why compare school-level results internationally?

What are the goals of the PISA for Schools project? 

How can schools use the PISA-based Test for Schools to improve learning outcomes? 

How is the test administered? 

How are the results reported? 

How does the project discourage rankings amongst schools? 

How does the OECD monitor quality? 

What is the frequency of testing?

How can my school sign up for the PISA-based Test for Schools?

What costs are associated with taking part in the PISA for Schools project? 

What does the future hold for the PISA for Schools project?

 

 

What is the PISA-based Test for Schools ?

The PISA-based Test for Schools is a voluntary assessment that supports school improvement efforts and benchmarking, based on the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). Like PISA, it assesses the extent to which 15-year-old students near the end of compulsory education have acquired some of the knowledge and skills that are essential for full participation in modern societies. 

 

What is PISA?

PISA is an international study that was launched by the OECD in 1997, first administered in 2000 and now covers 80 countries. Every 3 years the PISA survey provides comparative data on 15-year-olds’ performance in reading, mathematics and science. In addition, each cycle explores a distinct “innovative domain” such as collaborative problem solving (PISA 2015) and global competence (PISA 2018). The results have informed education policy discussions at the national and global level since its inception. 

 

What is the relationship between the PISA-based Test for Schools and PISA?

While PISA is intended to deliver national level results, the PISA-based Test for Schools is designed to deliver school-level results for school improvement and benchmarking purposes. Because both assessments are based on the same framework, the results are comparable, meaning that individual schools benchmark their performance with that of national education systems from around the world.

 

Why compare school-level results internationally? 

Given our global, knowledge-based economy, it has become more important than ever before to compare students not only to local or national standards, but also to the performance of the world’s top-performing school systems. There has been growing interest in comparing student performance to international benchmarks, both as a gauge of how prepared students are to participate in a globalised society and as a means of setting targets above and beyond basic proficiency levels or local expectations.

 

What are the goals of the PISA for Schools project? 

The PISA-based Test for Schools project aims to:
  • Empower school leaders and teachers by providing them with evidence-based analysis of their students’ performance. 
  • Measure students’ knowledge, skills and competencies that will equip them for success in education and the world of work.
  • Provide valuable information on the learning climate within a school, students’ socioeconomic background and motivation for learning.
  • Help schools measure a wider range of 21st century skills beyond maths, reading and science.
  • Provide opportunities for global peer-learning among teachers and school leaders.

 

How can schools use the PISA-based Test for Schools to improve learning outcomes?

To date, the assessment has been delivered in more than 2 200 schools cumulatively. School leaders and teachers have reported using results to:

  • Benchmark their performance in a global setting. Schools are using the results to set goals against the best school systems worldwide and to create a greater sense of urgency to push for higher levels of achievement.
  • Better understand the challenges faced by low-performing students.
  • Create peer-learning communities and networks with other schools and teachers.

 

How is the test administered?

OECD-accredited organisations are responsible for the implementation of the assessment. Under the rigorous technical oversight from the OECD, the accredited service providers administer the assessment to schools and, subsequently, perform data analysis and deliver school reports.

Students respond to approximately two hours of test questions in reading, mathematics and science and answer a 30-minute student questionnaire. The testing experience for a student lasts approximately three to three-and-a-half hours, including instructions and break periods.

In addition, school leaders (e.g. principals and directors) of participating schools will be asked to provide information on their school by filling out a questionnaire.

Following the test results, school report is delivered to schools in either printed and/or in electronic format. To be eligible to receive a school report, schools must meet minimum requirements in terms of students tested:

  1. a minimum of number of 35 students 
  2. 80% the student population of 15-year olds for schools with more than eighty-five eligible students. 

 

How are the results reported?

Schools which take part in the PISA-based Test for Schools are provided with a comprehensive report detailing their school’s performance measured against national results from around the world. School networks and governments can select the countries to which they wish to be compared, based on common challenges or goals. The data collected, and the school reports generated as a result of the assessment, belong to each school, which decides to what extent the data can be reported by the OECD. Schools are encouraged to share and discuss their results with teachers, staff, students and parents to foster deeper understanding of the overall performance of their school as a basis for future action.

 

How does the project discourage rankings amongst schools? 

The PISA-based Test for Schools and its results are not meant to be interpreted or used as school rankings or for “league tables”. The PISA-based Test for Schools does not provide for student level performance reporting and is designed principally to support school improvement efforts.

 

How does the OECD monitor quality? 

The OECD accredits professional assessment bodies to act as national service providers for the PISA-based Test for Schools in each country. They are obliged to adhere to the provisions set out in the OECD Technical Report and General Guidelines for the Availability and Use of the PISA-based Test for Schools.

The General Guidelines for the Availability and Use of the PISA-based Test for Schools set forward clear principles intended to guide the use of the assessment as a tool for improvement and informed discussions. Where the Guidelines are not respected, the OECD reserves the right to withhold its approval of a school report and the use of the OECD logo.

 

What is the frequency of testing?  

Once the validation study in a given country is complete, the test can be delivered “on-demand”. That is to say, schools can choose to administer the test at their desired frequency and up to once per school year.  

 

How can my school sign up for the PISA-based Test for Schools?

 

What costs are associated with taking part in the PISA for Schools project? 

There are two main components to the overall cost of taking part in the PISA for Schools project:

  1. the participation costs for joining this OECD project and
  2. the costs of delivering the assessment and producing the school reports.

The cost of participation for countries and school networks is determined as follows:

  • Year 1: a fixed rate is set to ensure cost recovery for the staff time and expenditures incurred by the OECD Secretariat for the preparation and introduction of the PISA-Based Test for Schools.
  • Year 1+N: a reduced fixed rate for each successive year of testing to cover the staff time and expenditures incurred by the OECD Secretariat to ensure ongoing coordination, innovation and quality assurance plus an amount calculated on the basis of the number of schools tested. Countries and/or school networks will also need to budget for the costs related to the administration of the PBTS and production of the school reports by the accredited National Service Provider, which will vary.

The development and maintenance of the PISA-based Test for Schools has been, and will continue to be, funded through Voluntary Contributions (VCs). 

 

What does the future hold for the PISA for Schools project?

Looking ahead, the PISA for Schools project aims to:

  • Increase the relevance and value of the assessment for school improvement by offering additional support to schools to help them interpret results and apply their knowledge in the classroom.
  • Develop global peer-learning opportunities in which participating schools can use the common framework provided by the assessment to underpin professional development and exchange of good practices among teachers world-wide, for example through the pisa4u online peer-learning platform.
  • Increase the number and range of schools participating in the project world-wide by reducing participation costs through digital delivery of the assessment.
  • Develop additional performance measures for 21st century skills based on PISA’s innovative domains such as collaborative problem solving and global competence. 

 

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