PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) is a collaborative effort launched by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) in 1997. Its objective is to allow countries to monitor the outcomes of their education systems through internationally comparable evidence on student achievement. In less than a decade, PISA has grown into the best known and most powerful comparative study in education in terms of policy impact.
PISA set to find answers to questions such as:
To do this, OECD brought together scientific experts to create a framework covering the key domains of Reading, Mathematical and Scientific literacy. These three were of special interest to policy makers, but they were also chosen due to their fairly universal content and goals across the countries and for being measurable in an internationally valid, reliable and cost-effective way. Additionally, questionnaires for students, school principals, teachers and parents were created.
The target of PISA was set at 15 year-olds to allow for school-based implementation regardless the structure of education, even if the general goal is to measure knowledge, skills and attitudes accumulated during compulsory education.