PISA: Programme for International Student Assessment
National Project Manager
Australian Council for Educational Research
Telephone (03) 9277 5727
The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is an initiative of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) leads the international PISA development project, and conducts the Australian study. PISA assesses 15 year old school students' achievement in literacy, in about 60 countries (both OECD members, and others). It measures how well young people, who are approaching the end of compulsory schooling, can apply their knowledge and skills to real-life problems and situations. PISA allows comparison between countries and over time of the reading, mathematical, and scientific literacy of 15 year olds.
The 2003 PISA included the domain of problem solving, and future PISAs will offer optional modules. These modules will measure learning progress over time, the relationship between instruction and learning outcomes, as well as information and communication technology competencies.
Internationally, ACER leads a consortium of research and educational institutions and eminent individuals to deliver the International PISA project on behalf of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The Consortium for PISA 2006 consists of four research organizations: the ACER, The Netherlands National Institute of Educational Measurement Citogroup, Westat Inc., and the Japanese National Institute for Educational Policy Research NIER.
The scope of the PISA surveys is 15 year olds enrolled in schools. The 2006 Australian PISA sample included 358 schools and over 14,000 students. As in the 2003 PISA, Indigenous students and students from regional areas were oversampled, so that reliable results would be available for these groups.
Not applicable. Testing occurs in July and August, for every triennial PISA sample.
Frequency of Collection
Every three years. Each PISA has a different major theme: in 2000 it was reading; 2003, mathematics, 2006, science; and it will be reading in 2009.
Method of Collection
PISA uses written tasks answered in schools under independently supervised test conditions. Tests include both multiple-choice items and questions requiring students to construct their own answers. Students also completed background questionnaires about themselves, while principals completed questionnaires about the school. The Australian Council of Education Research (ACER) has responsibility for implementing the survey in Australia.
PISA 2006 results will be released in December 2007.
Learning for Tomorrow's World: First Results from PISA 2003. OECD Publications, Paris
Problem Solving for Tomorrow's World: First Measures of Cross-Curricula Competencies from PISA 2003. OECD Publications, Paris.
Facing the future: A Focus on Mathematical Literacy Among Australian 15-year-old Students in PISA 2003. Sue Thomson, John Cresswell, Lisa De Bortoli. 2004, ACER, Camberwell, Vic.
Information is available for participating countries. In Australia data are available at the Australia, state, and territory levels, and for some regions.
Access to downloadable datasets, both Australian and international, and contact details for data requests are available through the Australian PISA web pages.
Extensive information about PISA, both in Australia and its international program, is available from the respective websites of ACER and its partner organizations internationally. The OECD home page for PISA is accessed by searching on "PISA" on the OECD website, http://www.oecd.org.
The 2006 Australian PISA sample has also provided the sample for the next wave of the Longitudinal Surveys of Australian Youth project, which is also conducted by ACER.
Student Characteristics and Family Background
Number of siblings
Country of birth
Language spoken at home
International Socio-economic Index of Occupational Status
Parents' years of schooling
PISA index of cultural communication
PISA index of social communication
Participation in additional courses
PISA index of activities related to classical culture
PISA index of family wealth
PISA index of home educational resources
PISA index of possessions related to classical culture in the family home
Learning Strategies and Attitudes
PISA index of engagement in reading
PISA index of interest in reading
PISA index of interest in mathematics
PISA index of control strategies
PISA index of memorisation strategies
PISA index of elaboration strategies
PISA index of co-operative learning
PISA index of competitive learning
PISA index of self-concept in reading
PISA index of self-concept in mathematics
PISA index of interest in computers
PISA index of comfort with and perceived ability to use computers
PISA index of time spent on homework
School Policies and Practices
PISA index of the use of formal assessments
PISA index of the use of informal assessments
PISA index of school autonomy
PISA index of teacher autonomy
Staff professional development
School principals' perceptions of teacher-related factors affecting school climate
School principals' perceptions of teachers' morale and commitment
PISA index of the teacher shortage
PISA index of teacher support
PISA index of disciplinary climate
PISA index of principals' perceptions of student-related factors affecting school climate
PISA index of achievement pressure
PISA index of teacher-student relations
School Resources and Type of School
PISA index of the quality of the schools' physical infrastructure
PISA index of the quality of the schools' educational resources
PISA index of the availability of computers
Student-teaching staff ratio
PISA index of the use of school resources
PISA index of hours of schooling per year