What is PISA?

The OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is a study that compares and examines student performance in mathematical, reading and scientific literacy, conducted every three years. Rather than assessing students on particular school curricular, PISA attempts to measure the knowledge and skills that students possess towards the end of their years in school which will enable them to participate fully in adult life. The PISA assessment examines the extent to which education systems are preparing students to meet life’s challenges – to become tomorrow’s workers, to continue learning throughout life, to analyse, reason and communicate ideas effectively.

Why is PISA important? 

PISA provides important information for policy development, to foster public accountability, to allow areas of progress or decline in achievement to be identified and monitored, and to address concerns for equity.

PISA also provides an instrument to monitor student performance over time. The regularity of the assessment allows comparability from one cycle to the next and to see the effects of policy changes on educational standards.

How was my child selected?

Your child’s school provided us with a list of all students whose date of birth fell within a specified date range. Your child was randomly selected from all students on the list.

Has my child been chosen for a particular reason?

No. Students who participate in PISA are all 15-year-olds. It doesn’t matter what year level a student is in. It is possible there might be students in Years 7 to 12 sitting PISA. No student taking part in PISA is chosen for a particular reason.

How can students in different year levels do the same assessment?

PISA is not a curriculum-based assessment. PISA assesses how 15-year-olds can apply their skills and knowledge to real-life problems and situations.

What type of questions are in the assessment?

Questions are multiple choice or require a short written response. These are in the areas of mathematical literacy, reading literacy and science literacy.