What is PISA?

The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is a triennial international survey which aims to evaluate education systems worldwide by testing the skills and knowledge of 15-year-old students who are nearing the end of their compulsory education. PISA assesses how well they can apply what they learn in school to real-life situations. Over 90 countries have participated in the assessment so far which began in 2000. Every three years students are tested in the key subjects: reading, mathematics and science. In one assessment there is a focus on one of the subjects. For example in the year 2000, the focus was on reading which allowed us to get more in-depth information on the students' reading skills. In addition to the three core subjects, students are tested in an innnovative domain such as collaborative problem solving in 2015 and global competence in 2018. Some countries also choose to administer an assessment in financial literacy.

Not only do the students take a test, but also, they fill out a background questionnaire to provide some contextual information e.g. they are asked about the level of education of their parents and how many possessions there are in their household. In addition school principals fill out a questionnaire about how their schools are managed. This gives us insights into how the students' background and school environment could influence their performance. Some countries also choose to administer extra background questionnaires to the students' to find out about educational careers and their use of ICT. Some countries also choose administer optional questionnaires to parents and teachers.

The data collected from the assessment and background questionnaires are analysed and the results are publised a year after the assessment.  For example, the latest survey took place in 2018 and its results will be published in 2019. The release date for these results is Tuesday 3 December 2019.

You can consult the key findings of previous assessments by clicking on the links below.

Key findings by cycle:

2015    2012    2009    2006    2003    2000

PISA Country Participation

See the list of countries and economies that have participated in PISA to date.


Map of PISA Countries and Economies


OECD countries
Partner countries and economies in PISA 2015
Partner countries and economies in previous cycles                                     

How Does PISA Work?

PISA Initiatives

PISA for Development

The PISA for Development initiative aims to encourage and facilitate PISA participation of interested and motivated low- and middle-income countries. Find out more about which countries are participating and it how it contributes to the Education Sustainable Development Goal for quality and equity of learning outcomes for children, young people and adults.

PISA-based Test for Schools

The PISA-based Test for Schools provides school-level estimates of performance and information about the learning environment and students’ attitudes gathered from student questionnaires. Find out more and how schools and their networks can take part.


How Does PISA Shape Education Reform?


See concrete examples of how countries such as Germany and Brazil have been able to improve their student performance in PISA and make their education systems more inclusive.




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