The PISA-Based Test for Schools [In the United States, the assessment is known as the OECD Test for Schools (based on PISA)] is a student assessment tool geared for use by schools and networks of schools to support research, benchmarking and school improvement efforts. It 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).
The assessment also provides information on how different factors within and outside school associate with student performance. Contextual questionnaires geared for schools and students are an important part of the assessment. Information about students’ socio-economic backgrounds, their attitudes and interests in reading, science and mathematics and the learning environment at school are all addressed in the assessment.
The OECD completed the international pilot trial of the assessment in March 2013. Since 2010 and under the guidance of the PISA Governing Board (PGB), the OECD has carried out the development of the assessment and the implementation of the pilot in collaboration with schools and local partners in different countries.
It is expected that the PISA-Based Test for Schools will provide important peer-to-peer learning opportunities for local educators – locally, nationally and internationally – as well as the opportunity to share good practices to help identify “what works” to improve learning and build better skills for better lives.
The school-level assessment is intended to be complementary to the main PISA studies by making PISA-based 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 same PISA assessment frameworks as the main PISA studies, but the assessments are different. One of the main differences between the assessments 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 OECD Secretariat is currently developing guidelines for the post-pilot availability of the assessment in countries that adopt it. These guidelines will address aspects of the assessment such as the proper use of the “PISA” brand and for appropriate public communication of schools’ results from the assessment.
In countries where the assessment will be available, information will be made public in April 2013 to allow schools to begin to plan their use of the test in the latter months of 2013 (e.g. for the 2013–14 academic year) with the testing service providers that are accredited in their country.
Schools that decide to implement the assessment will need to work with the service providers 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 75 but this will vary 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). In addition, school authorities (e.g. principals, directors, school masters) of participating schools will be asked to provide information on their school by filling out a questionnaire.
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 two example school reports here:
As of March 2013, and in addition to the United States, the OECD is engaging with countries such as Spain and the United Kingdom to explore the possibility of making the assessment available and to identify the appropriate governance models and conditions.