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.
See the About PISA page for more information on the study.
What will happen on the day of the study?
The study will take part within the normal school day. We will ask you 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.
Do I need to prepare?
You do not need to do any preparation beforehand. Please bring a calculator and a book so you can read quietly if you finish the study early.
Will PISA affect my school work?
Taking part in PISA will support the work that you are doing towards your exams, giving you practice in exam conditions, but your answers will not affect your schoolwork or results.
The privacy and data security of the young people we work with is very important to us: we do not share your individual answers to questions or results showing your name, with your school.
How are my results used?
The PISA data collected from your 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 The results of individual schools or pupils will not be published.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 those pupils randomly selected to take part in the study for their participation in this important project: without your engagement, 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 results from PISA 2018 were released in December 2019. The main focus was on reading. The national reports for England, Wales and Northern Ireland can be found here.
The results from PISA 2022 will be released in December 2023 and will be made available here.
How are pupils selected to take part?
Schools are randomly selected to take part in PISA by the study organisers, the OECD: 40 randomly selected 15-year-old pupils per school take part in the study.
If you have any questions on any aspect of the study, please do not hesitate to contact the PISA Support Team.