About PISA

What does the PISA study involve?

PISA looks at how well 15-year-olds can use the knowledge and skills they have learned in school to meet real-life challenges. The computer-based assessments and background questionnaires for schools and students are developed jointly by member countries of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The main focus of the assessment will be science skills (this changes between subjects for each cycle). There will also be modules that assess reading and maths and a new module covering digital skills entitled "Learning in a Digital World."

In order to help us understand how different contexts may affect the results of the PISA assessment, students and headteachers are asked to complete questionnaires about themselves, their school/college and, in 2025, their experiences of science and learning in a digital world.

PISA 2024 Field Trial timeline

November/December 2023: Schools are being asked to nominate a School Coordinator and an IT Coordinator, using the online form to identify two school contacts and select a range of suitable dates for the study to take place in the school.

January 2024: School IT Coordinators will run a check to ensure that the PISA study will run on their school’s computers and internet connection. 

February 2024: Schools will check the list of students selected to participate in the Field Trial. We will then ask them to share information about the study with these students, their parents/guardians and teachers. 

4–22 March 2024: Students will participate in the Field Trial on a convenient day for their school. NFER study administrators will confirm arrangements with School Coordinators. Our study administrators are qualified teachers and have been checked by Disclosure Scotland. We ask that the school’s IT Coordinator is available during the session. The complete administration will take about half a day.  

March 2024: School Coordinators will be asked to complete a school questionnaire. 

Field trial data is then processed and analysed by the international research team. They select the questions which provide the most accurate and robust information internationally. PISA data is used to help us understand what our 15-year-olds can do, what they think about themselves and their schools, and to gather information on teaching practices in each country. The most useful and informative questions are taken forward to the main study.