About Pisa

What does the PISA survey involve?

PISA assesses the knowledge and skills of 15-year-olds in reading, maths and science and is developed jointly by member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The PISA survey has a three year cycle, focusing in turn on reading, maths and science.

The main focus in PISA 2018 is reading, with some questions assessing maths and science. There will also be questions assessing pupils ‘global competence’ which look at how pupils approach situations dealing with others in the modern interconnected world. In order to explain results, pupils and headteachers are asked to complete questionnaires about themselves and their school. The PISA assessment will be wholly computer based.



PISA 2018 timeline

January 2017 – schools that have been selected to participate in the PISA field trial will be contacted by NFER. We will support schools throughout the field trial to ensure that participating is a rewarding experience for teachers and pupils.

March 2017 – the field trial takes place across the UK. From March 2017 to August 2017, pupils from across the world take part in the field trial.

April 2017 – marking of pupils’ responses.

When the last field trial has been completed, the data collected from all pupils’ responses are analysed. After studying the results, the international research team select the questions which work internationally and will provide the most robust information about what pupils can do, what pupils think about themselves and school, and information on teaching practices in each country. The questions that meet these criteria are taken forward to the main survey in 2018.

From February 2018 – schools that have been selected to participate in the main survey will be contacted by NFER and supported throughout their participation in the main survey.

From March 2018 pupils across the world take part in the PISA 2018 main survey.

October and November 2018 – pupils in the UK take part in the PISA 2018 main survey.

From December 2018 to December 2019 international researchers collate and analyse the data from all participating countries and prepare reports on the results.

December 2019 – the OECD publishes its international report about all countries. National reports for England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland are published by NFER and the UK national governments. These present trends over time and an international comparison of findings in UK countries in the context of current education policy in each country. The contextual information is particularly valuable to governments and researchers and makes PISA different from many other sources of comparison used by governments in the UK and around the world.