By Andreas Schleicher
OECD Director for Education and Skills
National assessments and exams as well as global assessments such as PISA have one thing in common: They make the learning outcomes of students who are enrolled in school visible and tangible. That is critically important to help students learn better, teachers teach better, and school systems to become more effective. But there is one major caveat: The learning needs and outcomes of those children who are not enrolled in school remain beyond the radar screen of those exams and assessments, and thus beyond the reach of informed policy intervention.
In 2014, PISA set out to change this, and to make PISA more relevant and accessible to a wider range of countries. Since launching in 2000, PISA has expanded to include more than 80 participating countries, and is today seen as the global yardstick for educational success. But as more countries joined PISA, it became apparent that the nature and methods of assessment needed to cater to a larger and more diverse set of countries.
That’s why we launched PISA for Development (PISA-D): an initiative that allows low- and middle-income countries to use PISA assessments to monitor progress toward national and international targets. Launched with nine participating countries and several partners, PISA-D also supports institutional capacity building, and helps countries to analyse the data, interpret results and design evidence-based policies that can improve teaching and learning, and help school systems become more relevant and effective. In reflecting the social context in which students learn and schools operate, PISA-D gives particular attention to disadvantaged populations.
PISA-D supports institutional capacity building, and helps countries to analyse the data, interpret results and design evidence-based policies that can improve teaching and learning, and help school systems become more relevant and effective
PISA-D scores are on the same scales as the main PISA assessment, but the assessment also includes enhanced survey instruments that are more relevant for low- and middle-income countries. PISA-D provides a more granular definition of student performance at the lower end of the PISA scales, for example, and captures a wider range of social and economic contexts. It also incorporates an assessment of those 14-16 year-olds who are no longer in school, or who never had the opportunity to attend school, to put them on the radar of public policy. PISA-D also supports countries in monitoring their progress toward the UN Sustainable Development Goal for education (SDG 4). PISA-D instruments have been mainstreamed into PISA for all participating countries from the 2022 cycle onwards.
PISA-D can be administered both in and outside of school. Eight countries — Bhutan, Cambodia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Paraguay, Senegal and Zambia – participated in the school-based implementation of PISA-D, which was carried out from 2015 to 2018. Five countries administered the out-of-school assessment during 2018 and 2019: Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay and Senegal.
The school-based results were released in December 2018 and have been analysed so that PISA-D countries can compare their results to the more than 80 countries that participated in PISA. PISA-D school-based data is providing policy makers with data and evidence to determine what they can do to improve their education system, and to ensure that all young people acquire the skills they need to succeed in tomorrow’s world.
PISA for Development Results in Focus and the PISA for Development out-of-school international database will be released on 1 December 2020 at 11:00 (Paris time). Four countries will launch national reports of their out-of-school assessment results over the course of 1 December 2020.
- PISA for Development
- PISA for Development national reports
- How regional collaboration can help improve education outcomes during coronavirus
- Advancing schooling beyond coronavirus – new insights from PISA
- Lessons for education during the coronavirus crisis
- The OECD coronavirus (COVID-19) policy hub
Photo: Shutterstock/Ljupco Smokovski