PISA-D Fact Sheet

Long title
Programme for International Student Assessment for Development
Frequency of data collection
One-time application
  • 2014–2015: technical design and participation coordination
  • 2015: framework development
  • 2015–2016: instrument development (in-school and out-of-school)
  • 2016 (March–Sept): field test for in-school
  • 2017 (Jan–March): field test for out-of-school
  • 2017 (March–Dec): data collection in-school
  • 2018 (July)–2019 (Jan): data collection out-of-school
  • 2018 (Dec): release of international products, including international database, and national reports for in-school assessment
  • 2020 (Dec): release of international products, including international database, and national reports for out-of-school assessment

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 in low-and-middle income countries.



Assess the extent to which 15-year-old students in low-and-middle-income-countries 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 with tests targeting the lower levels of performance
    • Inclusion of an assessment of reading and mathematics for out-of-school youth
    • Inclusion of contextual questionnaires that are more relevant for low-and-middle-income-countries
    • Inclusion of capacity-building activities for implementation of PISA and analysis of data, interpretation of results and preparation of a national report.
  • 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.
Assessment domain(s)
  • Mathematical literacy/Mathematics/Numeracy
  • Reading/Reading literacy
  • Science/Scientific literacy
Study framework (summary)
PISA linkage

PISA-D was implemented within the overall PISA framework, with some changes:

  • An equal treatment of the three major domains tested (Reading, Mathematics, Science)
  • Some extensions made to the PISA frameworks for PISA-D in order to gain more information about students at or below the lowest level(s) on the standard PISA scales.
  • Enhanced contextual questionnaires to better measure factors that are more strongly related to student performance in middle- and low-income countries, while maintaining comparability with PISA on a set of core indicators.
  • An assessment of the out-of-school population.

PISA-D will be included in main PISA starting with the 2022 cycle.


Assessment framework

Science framework

  • Context
  • Knowledge
  • Competencies


Reading framework

  • Processes
  • Text
  • Situation


Mathematics framework

  • Processes
  • Content
  • Contexts


Context questionnaire framework

The Education Prosperity framework shaped the enhancements made to the contextual questionnaires for PISA-D. It included:

  • Prosperity outcomes
  • Foundations for success
  • Student-level demographic factors for assessing equity and equality


In addition, the questionnaires included measures that provided a context for the Prosperity Outcomes:

  • Teacher characteristics
  • School-level factors
  • System-level factors
Participating entities


Overall, nine countries participated in PISA-D. They either administered both the in-school and out-of-school assessment or one of them:

  • In-School assessment: 8 countries/economies
  • Out-of-school assessment: 5 countries/economies



  • Bhutan (limited participation, did not complete main survey data collection)
  • Cambodia (in-school assessment only)
  • Ecuador (in-school assessment only)
  • Guatemala (both assessments)
  • Honduras (both assessments)
  • Panama (out-of-school assessment only)
  • Paraguay (both assessments)
  • Senegal (both assessments)
  • Zambia (in-school assessment only)
Target population and sample (summary)

Target population

  • In-school assessment: 15-year-old students enrolled in an educational institution at Grade 7 or higher in their respective countries and economies
  • Out-of-school assessment: 14-16-year-old youth enrolled in an educational institution at Grade 6 or lower or not enrolled in their respective countries and economies



  • In-school assessment: approximately 37,000 students
  • Out-of-school assessment: approximately 7,200 respondents
Data collection techniques and instruments (summary)
In-school assessment

Student achievement tests

  • Paper-based: 8 countries/economies (but only 7 completed the main survey data collection)
  • Domains: Science, Reading, and Mathematics


Background questionnaires (for in-school assessment)

  • Student questionnaire
  • School questionnaire (for school principals)
  • Teacher questionnaire (for all teachers responsible for Grade 7 and above)


Out-of-school assessment

Youth achievement tests

  • Tablet computer-based: 5 countries/economies
  • Domains: Reading and Mathematics


Background questionnaires (for out-of-school assessment)

  • Youth questionnaire
  • Parent/person most knowledgeable about the youth questionnaire
  • Household observation questionnaire


PISA linkage

In the future and starting with PISA 2022, instruments, approaches, and methodologies piloted in PISA-D will be integrated in main PISA.

Study director(s)

OECD PISA for Development
2 rue André Pascal
75775 Paris Cedex 16

E-mail: PISAforDevelopment@oecd.org