A central point of entry to ILSAs

ILSA Gateway is the point of entrance to information on international large-scale assessments (ILSAs) in education. Here you will find comprehensive information on each study, including direct links to data and documents on the various external study websites, a database of study-related research papers, and announcements of recent news and upcoming events. The gateway has been designed for a worldwide audience, first and foremost researchers, but it should also be a useful tool for policymakers, decision makers, and all others interested in education research. It will facilitate access to ILSA-related resources, encourage knowledge exchange and discussions, and inspire future research.

We will continue to expand the gateway and its services, based on the needs and interests of its users and the ILSA community.


­­­Selection criteria

ILSA has become an umbrella term for all transnational studies in education, irrespective of whether they include a cognitive assessment component. These are our selection criteria for inclusion here:

  • The study has a strong and primary focus on education, any sector of education (i.e., formal, informal, non-formal) and any age group or population (e.g., kindergarten or primary level children, secondary or tertiary level students, adults).
  • The study covers at least five different countries, education systems, or jurisdictions. Other (regional or national) studies may be included if the outputs are clearly and strongly linked to an ILSA already present here, if such a study would have a lighthouse function that could be of interest to a larger, international audience, and it provides at least partial documentation in English (see below).
  • The study is large in scope in the sense that it intends to model a system and/or population of interest as a whole.
  • The ILSA is accompanied by comprehensive technical documentation such that gateway users can evaluate its design, procedures, and data.
  • Information about and from the study is available in English. However, in order to allow a wider audience to become familiar with important regional studies, ILSAs in other key languages (e.g., Spanish and French), may be included here if at least part of the documentation is provided in English.
  • The study is of high relevance: studies focusing on substantive notions, implications, and aspects, whether applied or basic research, as well as studies responding to the growing demand for evidence-based policy solutions (regardless of whether a single study or a combination thereof). Studies concentrating solely on policy contexts have not been included, for now.
  • The last cycle of the study was conducted or initially reported less than five years ago. Older ILSAs that still have important repercussions and implications for current and future research and policy may also be included.
  • Major works by various international governmental and non-governmental organizations in the ILSA field will be included.


Development and editorial process

The ILSA Gateway, an initiative of the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), was developed and is maintained by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA), specifically the Research and Analysis Unit (RandA) at IEA Hamburg.

The IEA coordinates the work of the ILSA Gateway Editorial Group, which established the foundation for the site by defining both the type of content to be presented and the study selection criteria. Current members include Mr. Ralph Carstens, Senior Research Advisor to the Executive Director of IEA; Dr. Sabine Meinck, Head of the Research, Analysis and Sampling Unit; and Mr. Heiko Sibberns, Senior Research Advisor to the Executive Director of IEA. The group receives advice and support from ICTS Unit Head Joachim Wolf and other IEA experts as well as from various IEA committees. Although the editorial group framed the gateway content, the specific study page content was developed in close collaboration with the many study directors and initiators. ILSA Gateway Production Manager and Project Lead Dr. Nathalie Mertes and the Coordinator Ms. Aysel Gojayeva manage the overall maintenance of the ILSA Gateway as well as communication and work of all internal and external parties involved.

For more information about ILSA Gateway, feel free to contact us.



We gratefully acknowledge NCES for the generous support for the development of this gateway and study directors and their teams for their important contributions to the production and editing of study-related content. Information about individual editors and authors can be found at the end of the study Organization pages.