PISA 2015 Fact Sheet

Long title
Programme for International Student Assessment
Frequency of data collection
Every 3 years
Previous cycles
2000, 2003, 2006, 2009, 2012
  • Early 2012 : framework development
  • Mid-2012 : instrument development
  • March–September 2014  : field test (month depends on country)
  • March–Dec 2015  : data collection (month depends on country)
  • December 2016 : release of international reports
  • December 2016 : release of international database

Starting point

The question of what is important for citizens to know and be able to do and the need for internationally comparable evidence on student performance.



Assess the extent to which 15-year-old students have acquired the key knowledge and skills essential for full participation in a modern society.

  • Assessing students near the end of their compulsory education.
  • Assessment domains
    • Focus on the core school subjects of mathematics, reading, and science
    • Inclusion of an innovative domain (in 2015, collaborative problem solving)
    • Possible inclusion of financial literacy as optional assessment (for some countries).
  • Not only to ascertain whether students can reproduce knowledge, but also to examine how well students can extrapolate from what they have learned and whether they can apply that knowledge in unfamiliar settings, both in and out of school.


PISA data

  • Offer insights for education policy and practice.
  • Help monitor trends in students’ acquisition of knowledge and skills across countries and in different demographic subgroups within each country.
  • Reveal what is possible in education by showing what students in the highest-performing and most rapidly improving education systems can do.


PISA findings

  • Allow policy makers around the world to gauge the knowledge and skills of students in their own countries in comparison with those in other countries,
  • Allow policy targets to be set against measurable goals achieved by other education systems and educators to learn from policies and practices applied elsewhere.

While PISA cannot identify cause-and-effect relationships between policies (or practices) and student outcomes, it can show educators, policy makers, and the interested public how education systems are similar and different – and what that means for students.

Assessment domain(s)

Major domain

  • Science / Scientific literacy

Minor domains

  • Reading / Reading literacy / Language
  • Mathematics / Mathematical literacy
  • Collaborative Problem Solving


  • Financial literacy
Study framework (summary)

Science framework

  • Context
  • Knowledge
  • Competencies
  • Attitudes


Reading framework

  • Situation
  • Text
  • Aspect


Mathematics framework

  • Processes
  • Content
  • Contexts


Collaborative problem-solving framework

  • Incorporates three core collaborative problem-solving competencies
  • These three competencies arise from a combination of collaboration and individual problem-solving processes.
  • PISA 2015 CPS concentrates on the collaboration skills to a greater extent than the problem-solving skills needed to solve a particular problem.


Financial literacy framework

  • Content
  • Processes
  • Contexts


Context questionnaire framework

  • School input, school contexts, and governance
  • Class contexts
  • Student background
  • General processes
  • Science-related outcomes
  • Teacher-related measures (background, professional development, qualifications)
Participating entities


72 countries and economies (including 35 OECD member countries)



OECD: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States

Partners: Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Brazil, Beijing-Shanghai-Jiangsu-Guangdong (China), Bulgaria, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Dominican Republic, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Georgia, Hong Kong (China), Indonesia, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Lebanon, Lithuania, Macao (China), Malaysia, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Peru, Qatar, Romania, Russian Federation, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, Viet Nam

Target population and sample (summary)

Target population

15-year-old students enrolled in an educational institution at Grade 7 or higher in their respective countries and economies



Approximately 540,000 students

Data collection techniques and instruments (summary)

Student achievement tests

  • Paper-based: 15 countries/economies
  • Computer-based: 57 countries/economies
  • Domains
    • Science, reading, and mathematics (all countries and economies participated)
    • Collaborative problem solving (52 countries and economies testing on computers participated)
    • Financial literacy (15 countries and economies testing on computers participated)


Background questionnaires

  • Student questionnaire
  • School questionnaire (for school principals)
  • Parent questionnaire (optional)
  • Teacher questionnaire (optional) -  There were two versions: one for science teachers and a different one for teachers who teach other subjects.
  • Information and communication technology (ICT) familiarity questionnaire (optional)
  • Educational career questionnaire (optional)
Study director(s)
Study website(s)


2 rue André Pascal

75775 Paris Cedex 16

E-mail: edu.pisa@oecd.org