Pisa assessment provides valuable data about student performance

Maths, reading and sciences literacy tested and compared country by country

Pisa is the Programme for International Student Assessment, a project organised by the OECD. It assesses 15-year-olds in 65 countries using tests for maths, reading and science and then publishes rankings of performance on a country by country basis.

Pisa is the Programme for International Student Assessment, a project organised by the OECD. It assesses 15-year-olds in 65 countries using tests for maths, reading and science and then publishes rankings of performance on a country by country basis.

Tue, Dec 3, 2013, 10:13

Pisa is the Programme for International Student Assessment, a project organised by the OECD. It assesses 15-year-olds in 65 countries using tests for maths, reading and science and then publishes rankings of performance on a country by country basis.

The first Pisa assessments took place in 2000 and new assessments are published every three years with the 2012 results released this morning. They provide an assessment of student aptitude across countries.

They also deliver valuable information about the relative quality of education in a country given the results can be compared across years to see whether performance is up, static or downward. They are also able to measure educational equity for the students attending school, showing for example the impact of socioeconomic factors on access to education and student performance.

Countries participating administer the tests as traditional paper-based assessments but there is also the option of using computers for reading and for mathematics.

Ireland participates in both forms, which results in different performance levels. Only 23 of the 34 OECD countries including Ireland and nine partner countries assessed used these two methods in 2012.

In Ireland 182 schools and 5,016 students participated in Pisa exams during March 2012.

The Pisa process delivers a wealth of data that the Department of Education and Skills assesses and applies in the development of national education policy.

For example, Ireland’s strong relative performance in scientific literacy for 2012 was attributed by the Department to curriculum changes for primary and post primary that have been occurring since 1999.

All of the students here participating in the Project Maths curriculum were included in the assessments for 2012, but it remains too early to determine whether it will help boost our performance in maths literacy, the department said.

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