For Parents

What is PISA?

The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is an international study developed by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Every three years PISA tests 15-year-old pupils from all over the world in mathematics, science and reading. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the PISA 2021 assessment has been postponed until 2022, with over 80 countries participating in this cycle.

The tests are designed to assess how well the pupils master key subjects in order to be prepared for real-life situations in the adult world. PISA results are used by our government and governments from around the world to compare the strengths and weaknesses of their education systems. It provides an opportunity to compare our achievement internationally and to learn from the policies and practices of other countries.

What will happen on the day of the study?

The study will take part within the normal school day. We will ask your child to answer some multiple-choice and open-ended questions about mathematics, reading and science on a computer and to fill out a short online questionnaire.

If you would like to see some examples of the kinds of questions which are included in the PISA study, they can be found here and you can see an example of the pupil questionnaire here.

The assessment lasts approximately 2 hours and the online questionnaire around 30-40 minutes. You will be given a short break in-between the two.

Should my child prepare?

Your child does not need to do any preparation beforehand.

Will PISA affect their school work?

Taking part in PISA will support the work that your child is doing towards their exams, giving them practice in exam conditions, but their answers will not affect their school work or results.

The privacy and data security of the young people we work with is very important to us: we do not share your child’s individual answers to questions or results showing their name, with their school.

How are my child’s results used and why is it important my child takes part?

The PISA data collected from your child’s school will be analysed alongside that of other schools in the country and in other participating nations. Findings of each country are published in an international report by the OECD, and three national reports will be written by academics at the University of Oxford in 2023. The results of individual schools or pupils will not be published.

The purpose of the study is to produce information on pupils’ learning and development, in order to learn more about how best to support pupils in mastering key subjects. The information collected is a vital part of the evidence base regarding our education system: the international nature of the PISA study allows us to benchmark our education system with other countries across the world and enables us to learn from the policies and practices in other countries.

We would like to thank your child for participating in this important project: without the engagement of those pupils randomly selected to take part in the study, our data is unlikely to be considered good enough to analyse or to provide valid evidence.

Who is carrying out the study?

Pearson UK and their partners at Oxford University have been commissioned to carry out the PISA 2022 study in England, Wales and Northern Ireland on behalf of their Governments.

Data privacy & how we use personal data

We take data protection very seriously and follow the Data Protection Act 2018 and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Any personal information we collect will be held securely and no individual pupil or school will be identifiable in any report or publication. The National Centre (Pearson and OUCEA) will only hold the PISA data long enough to allow the analysis and reporting of the study after which they will delete the data from their systems. You can view more information on data privacy and the full privacy notice here.

What have we learned from PISA?

The national reports for England, Wales and Northern Ireland can be found here.

Contact us

If you have any queries on any aspect of the study, please do not hesitate to contact the PISA Support Team.