Ongoing Research, Development and Innovation Projects


Improving accessibility

RDI accessibility project icon


In order to ensure the validity and comparability of the results of the assessment, PISA has maintained strict guidelines on the participation of students with special education needs, providing limited possibilities to accommodate them. As a result, some students are currently excluded from PISA and, in some countries, exclusion rates are growing as more and more students are recognised as having disabilities or needs. Given the breadth and policy relevance of PISA, it is important that it gives every student the opportunity to demonstrate their skills, and that it generates information on the learning outcomes and context that represents all students.

This project aims to improve accessibility in PISA by i) taking stock of the situation and developing instruments to assess PISA’s accessibility; ii) identifying and testing promising accommodations to address special education needs; iii) improving the existing instruments through the definition of inclusive design principles to reduce the need for accommodations over time.

  • Elodie Persem (Head of the Accessibility, Innovation and Research Pole at the DEPP, France)
  • Countries and economies: Brasil, Colombia, Denmark, Finland, France, Norway, Peru, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom

Measuring ESCS

 RDI project escs icon


Students’ economic, cultural, and social status (ESCS) represents a key variable for PISA and its intended use as a comparative assessment of the performance of education systems. It allows to contextualize results of the student assessment within broader societal differences, and to address, within each system, questions about differences in educational opportunity, inequalities in learning outcomes, and how these differences and inequalities have evolved over time.

Given its importance to understanding PISA results, this project aims to improve the measurement of students' socio-economic status, while maintaining the comparability of the measure available for previous cycles and to construct new indicators of equity in education and of material deprivation (and material well-being) of children.

Automatic coding of text responses in the PISA test and questionnaire

RDI automatic coding project icon


Constructed-response (‘open-ended’) items constitute an integral part of the PISA assessment: they allow assessing higher-order cognitive skills in some domains, present a change from closed-response (e.g. multiple-choice) items, allow for partial grading, prevent students from guessing right, and permit to gather information that would not be possible using a closed-response format. With the exception of some short, numeric answers, the resulting text responses require human coding before the data can be analysed. The process of coding is, however, prone to error, time consuming, and expensive.

This project aims to introduce a system for automatically coding open-text responses into the operational procedures in PISA. It will also evaluate the feasibility of using artificial intelligence (AI), and in particular natural-language processing (NLP) methods for coding longer text responses. 


  • Gisele Alves (Instituto Ayrton Senna, Brazil)
  • Nico Andersen (DIPF, Germany)
  • Roger Beaty (Pennsylvania State University, United States)
  • Mathias Benedek (Universität Graz, Austria)
  • Denis Dumas (University of Georgia, United States)
  • Peter Organisciak (University of Denver, United States)
  • John D Patterson (Pennsylvania State University, United States)
  • Ricardo Primi (Universidade São Francisco, Brazil)
  • Ricelli Silva (University of São Paulo, Brazil)
  • Fabian Zehner (DIPF, Germany)

Assessing critical media literacy

RDI critical media literacy project icon


Every day, people access the web to stay informed on what is happening around them, to learn about new topics and to interact with their peers. However, information on the web (and particularly social media platforms) is not always reliable and could reinforce biased perspectives. In this context, it becomes essential that students develop the skills needed to critically evaluate and use online information, as well as learn to use social media in a critical and responsible way. 

This project aims to begin the development of a new assessment of online media literacy. This complex construct includes active inquiry processes in open and interactive environments and aspects of responsible decision-making, such as taking decisions on what information to share and understanding consequences of these decisions. Knowledge of media tools and networks are also important element of the construct.


  • Magdalena Pokropek (Uniwersytet Warszawski)
  • Luis Francisco Vargas-Madriz (McGill University)

Defining comprehensive PISA standards

RDI PISA standards project icon


The PISA technical standards focus on the procedures that ensure the consistent implementation of PISA in different countries, but do not address other phases of the project cycle (e.g. instrument development, analysis and reporting) or broader quality dimensions such as validity, reliability, cross-national and cross-cycle comparability, and fairness.

This project aims to develop additional guidelines to guide the development of high-quality instruments and ensure that PISA results are accurately interpreted and used. 

  • Nina Jude (University of Heidelberg, Institute for Educational Science)
  • Peter van Rijn (Educational Testing Service)
  • Leslie Rutkowski (Indiana University, School of Education)
  • Stephen G. Sireci (University of Massachusetts at Amherst, College of Education)
  • Javier Suarez-Alvarez (University of Massachusetts at Amherst, College of Education)
  • Megan Welsh (UC Davis, School of Education)
  • Sabine Meinck (International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement – IEA)
  • Christian Monseur (University of Liège, Department of Education Sciences)
  • Elica Krajceva (cApStAn)
  • Jonas Bertling (Educational Testing Service)
  • Ketan (University of Massachusetts at Amherst, College of Education)
  • Lucia Tramonte (University of New Brunswick, Canadian Research Institute for Social Policy)