PISA results out today

Hakim Hayat

Results from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2018 reading, mathematics and science tests will be released today, with first-time participants including Brunei Darussalam, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Morocco, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia and Ukraine, as well as the province of Zhejiang (China).

PISA, a worldwide study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in member and non-member nations to evaluate educational systems by measuring 15-year-old school pupils’ scholastic performance on mathematics, science, and reading, saw over 600,000 students in 79 countries and economies participating in the assessment.

Every three years, the education community around the world awaits the release of the latest results from PISA.

According to a press release from OECD, PISA 2018 focussed on students’ proficiency in reading.

A new framework for the reading assessment was developed to reflect how reading has changed over the past decade. In particular, the prevalence of reading in digital environments was reflected by a greater emphasis on reading multiple-source texts.

This December also sees the publication of results on equity in education systems, school climate and students’ well-being. PISA rotates the main subject of assessment every three years, and the PISA 2018 assessment, like the PISA 2000 and 2009 assessments, focussed on reading.

The PISA definition of reading literacy has remained much the same over this period; in 2018, it can be summarised as understanding, using, evaluating, reflecting on and engaging with texts to achieve one’s goals, to develop one’s knowledge and potential, and to participate in society.

Recognising that the way people read has changed since 2009 with the emergence of electronic formats, PISA has adapted to these changes and a new framework for the reading assessment was developed for PISA 2018 and adopted in the 70 education systems that delivered the assessment on computer.

This framework, they said placed greater emphasis on the ability to find, compare, contrast and integrate information across multiple sources.

The assessment also evaluated reading fluency, defined as the ease and efficiency with which students read a piece of text, by asking students to determine whether individual sentences made sense. Adaptive testing, which presented students with items targetted to their ability level and thus allowed for a more precise measurement of students’ proficiency, was also used.