The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is an international assessment of the skills and knowledge of 15-year-old students. PISA was created in 1997 by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to monitor student achievement within a common, internationally agreed framework.
In addition, PISA provides information about a range of factors that contribute to the success of students, schools, and education systems.
PISA has been conducted every 3 years since 2000. In each PISA cycle, a different domain (i.e. reading, mathematics, or science) is the focus of more in‑depth investigation. The OECD has prepared a video, “How does PISA work?” to give an overview of PISA.
Canada participated along with 71 other countries in PISA 2015.
International participation in PISA has grown steadily – from 32 countries in 2000 to 41 in 2003, 57 in 2006, and 65 in both 2009 and 2012.
Canada and all ten provinces have participated since PISA’s inception.
Approximately 20,000 Canadian students from approximately 1,000 schools typically take part in each PISA assessment in either English or French. This includes 2,500 students from 100 schools in Alberta (only federally-funded schools are excluded).
More information can be found on the Council of Ministers of Education Canada (CMEC) website.
PISA assesses 15-year-old students. In Alberta, approximately 2,500 students from 114 schools participated in PISA 2015. Because PISA assessment is based on the age of students rather than on the school grade they attend, the majority of students writing PISA in Alberta are Grade 10 students, while in some other countries the majority of students can be in Grade 9.
In PISA 2012, around 510,000 students completed the assessment, representing about 28 million 15-year-olds in the schools of the 65 participating countries and economies.