PISA 2018 Global Competence


The PISA 2018 Global Competence assessment measures students’ capacity to examine local, global and intercultural issues, to engage in open, appropriate and effective interactions with people from different cultures, and to act for collective well-being and sustainable development.


What is Global Competence?

Global Competence is a multi-dimensional construct that requires a combination of knowledge, skills, attitudes and values successfully applied to global issues or intercultural situations. Global issues refer to those that affect all people, and have deep implications for current and future generations. Intercultural situations refer to face-to-face, virtual or mediated encounters with people who are perceived to be from a different cultural background.

Developing global competence is a life-long process, but it is one that education can shape. PISA 2018 assesses where 15-year-old students are situated in this process, and whether their schools effectively address the development of global competence. 

Why is it important for students to develop Global Competence?

Global competence can help young people:

  • develop cultural awareness and respectful interactions in increasingly diverse societies;
  • recognise and challenge cultural biases and stereotypes, and facilitate harmonious living in multicultural communities;
  • prepare for the world of work, which increasingly demands individuals who are effective communicators, are open to people from different cultural backgrounds, can build trust in diverse teams and can demonstrate respect for others, especially as technology continues to make it easier to connect on a global scale;
  • capitalise on inherently interconnected digital spaces, question biased media representations, and express their voice responsibly online;
  • care about global issues and engage in tackling social, political, economic and environmental challenges.

Global competence thus supports the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) both by providing the vision of education the SDGs advocate for, and by encouraging young people to act in the general interest of collective-wellbeing and sustainable development that the SDGs embody.



What is innovative about the PISA 2018 Global Competence assessment?

PISA 2018 defines and assesses Global Competence in a multi-dimensional way, recognising students’ socio-emotional skills and attitudes as core indicators of global competence, in addition to their cognitive reasoning about global and intercultural issues. As the test focuses only on the knowledge and cognitive skills students need to confront problems related to global and intercultural issues, the student questionnaire collects information on students’ skills (both cognitive and socio-emotional) and their attitudes towards global and intercultural issues. 

Results and supporting documents


The worldwide launch of the PISA 2018 Results: Are students ready to thrive in an interconnected world? (Volume VI) was hosted by AFS Intercultural Programs at their conference on 21-22 October 2020, organised through a collaboration between AFS and the OECD. The implications of the results for educators, policymakers and other relevant education stakeholders were also explored. 

Additional resources

Supporting documents

Past events

  • Launch of the OECD PISA GLOBAL COMPETENCE FRAMEWORK, the foundation for the PISA 2018 Global Competence assessment. The launch took place in Harvard on 12 December 2017, in collaboration with Project Zero at Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Articles, blog posts and podcasts

Videos and presentations

What did the PISA 2018 global competence test assess, and why is it important?

What is the impact of PISA Global Competence Assessment on education? (Andreas Schleicher)


Contact us

For more information, reach out to the PISA innovative assessments team at [email protected]