Every three years in the worldwide education systems, OECD conducts PISA to test the critical thinking of 15-year-olds in math, science, and reading in over 65 countries that make up 90% of the world’s economies.
What Is PISA? Why Does It Matter?
Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is a global program whereby around 600,000 15 year students from different countries are put under a two-hour test to gauge their skills and knowledge, mainly in science, reading, and mathematics. PISA test questions don't gauge memorization of facts but demand that students draw on real-world problem-solving skills and knowledge.
Since a high ranking on PISA corresponds to economic success, researchers have concluded that PISA is one of the indicators of whether school systems are preparing students for the 21st-century global knowledge economy.
U.S. critics of PISA state that the state has a higher percentage of disadvantaged children and therefore cannot fair as well as other OECD countries on the test. Data from the OECD shows that the U.S actually has around the OECD average of disadvantaged students.
However, the U.S has more students from socio-economically advantaged backgrounds. Meaning students in the U.S are better off than the average OECD country.
Typically, PISA is on a three-yearly cycle, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, PISA 2021 was postponed to 2022.
85 countries are taking part in PISA 2022, intended to take place from 26 July to 16 September 2022. Three key learning subject areas are tested: reading literacy, mathematics, and science. These are accompanied by an innovative domain that varies from cycle to cycle. Mathematics is the key focus, while creative thinking is the innovative domain.
Around 6,300 students aged between 15-years-3-months and 16-years-2-months at the time of assessment will participate in the PISA 2022 Main Survey, conducted under the auspices of the OECD.
2018 PISA Score by Country
The latest PISA results information is PISA 2018 results
With a mean score of 1,736, China topped the list ahead of Singapore in the second spot and Estonia in the third spot. The United States only made it into 22nd place with a total average score of 1,485, just slightly above the 1,465 average scores for all OECD countries assessed.
China's apparent dominance of this measure of student attainment was somehow taken with a pinch of salt. Unlike the other countries assessed, China’s scores were based on pupils in Beijing, Shanghai, and its two neighboring provinces -- Jiangsu and Zhejiang, home to just 183 million of China's 1.4 billion inhabitants. However, the report did note that the level of income of these Chinese regions is well below the OECD average.