PISA-Based Test for Schools
Throughout the report you will find:
- International case studies and insights related to successful school improvement efforts gleaned from PISA and other OECD research on education.
- Examples of school practices from countries that have shown consistently high results and from countries that have shown considerable progress as a result of school improvement and educational reform.
- A series of text boxes exemplifying successful implementation of reform, and showing how some schools have tackled low performance and cultivated talented students.
Because your report will also include links giving one-click access to relevant OECD research, reports and additional resources (e.g. a video series showcasing educators and policymakers from around the world describing how they succeeded in improving student outcomes), your report will be provided online, in pdf format, via your NFER school portal page.
Your report will be confidential to your school and you can then choose with which other agencies and groups (if any) you wish to share it. These might include partner schools (especially if your school has chosen to participate as part of a network or federation), your local authority/education board or academy provider/other provider, governing body/ governing board/trustees, parents, students or other key stakeholders. NFER and OECD will have copies of each school’s report, but they will not publish these or make them available to other parties unless specific permission has been gained.
Click on section titles to see a detailed explanation of each section:
- Summary of your school’s results
- Reader’s guide
- Section 1 - Introduction: Understanding your school’s results
- Section 2 - What students at your school know and can do in reading, mathematics and science
- Section 3 - Student Engagement and the Learning Environment at Your School in an International Perspective
- Section 4 - Your School Compared with Similar Schools in Your Country
- Section 5 Your school’s results in an international context
- References and annexes
Summary of your school’s results
This section will give a summary of the findings outlined in the remainder of your report. It will give your school’s overall scores along with descriptions of how they were derived, and outline how those scores compare with other schools in the UK. It will summarise how your school compares internationally for each subject. It will also indicate the percentage of your students at each of the six PISA proficiency levels.
In order to set the scene, this section of the report will guide you through the report’s contents, helping you to understand how PISA-Based Test for Schools differs from the main PISA studies. It will indicate the sources of the data and other information underlying the report, and will guide you through the key statistical concepts, terminology and conventions used in the report, including statistical significance, confidence intervals and standard error. It will also list key abbreviations used in the report and signpost further information about PISA.
Section 1 - Introduction: Understanding your school’s results
This section sets the scene for the rest of your report. It will:
- provide an overview of the structure and administration of PISA-Based Test for Schools;
- describe the PISA assessment frameworks (including setting out key competencies that enable students to meet the complex demands of modern life effectively);
- outline the PISA scales and proficiency levels;
- signpost the content of the later sections of your report;
- highlight international case studies and insights into school improvement;
- provide links to additional resources, including related videos and sample assessment questions.
Section 2 - What students at your school know and can do in reading, mathematics and science
This section will provide an overview of your school’s performance in the PISA-Based Test for Schools and will compare this with headline findings nationally and internationally. More detail about the national and international contexts of your school’s outcomes will be given in later sections.
This section will describe what your students know and can do in each of the three assessment domains of reading, mathematics and science, focusing on the distribution of top- and low-performing students and on the kinds of tasks that students at different levels are able to do. The section will also show how your school performs compared with schools across your country. Background knowledge gleaned from relevant OECD studies will be provided, in order to set the findings in context. The performance of girls and boys in your school (if applicable) will also be compared, alongside consideration of how any differences compare with the national and international pictures.
As well as the overview of your students’ performance, this section will provide a more detailed breakdown of their performance against the six PISA proficiency levels, for each of the three assessed subjects: reading, mathematical literacy and scientific literacy. Contextual information based on related research will be included.
Section 3 - Student Engagement and the Learning Environment at Your School in an International Perspective
Overview: This section will be based on students’ responses to the contextual questionnaire that they completed during the assessment. It will describe your students’ perceptions of teacher-student relations at your school and the disciplinary climate in the classrooms, and your students’ reports of their attitudes towards learning. It will also describe how students’ reading habits and their awareness of effective learning strategies are related to their reading skills, and it will outline how confident and motivated your students are in learning mathematics and science compared with other students in your country. As will be the case throughout your report, outcomes will be aggregated: this promise of anonymity allows students to answer freely, ensuring the validity of the data collected.
Disciplinary climate: Students’ perceptions of the school’s disciplinary climate will be outlined in relation to their achievement in reading and mathematics. This will also be compared with outcomes for students in similar schools (i.e. schools with a similar socio-economic profile) in the UK. Note that international comparisons of student responses will not be provided in this section, since students in different countries might not have applied the same criteria when assessing the learning environment. However, findings in this section will be set in the context of what we know about effective learning environments around the world.
Teacher-student relations: Students’ views regarding the quality of their overall relations with the teachers in your school will be shown graphically, and compared with the views of students elsewhere in the UK. These views will also be plotted against the school’s performance in the PISA assessment of mathematics, and will be compared with mathematics outcomes for students in schools with a similar socio-economic profile.
Students’ reading habits: The percentage of your students in each of six ‘reader profiles’ will be indicated (your students will be categorised according to the reading habits they report; that is, what and how often they read something because they want to, and the strategies they use to process written information). The average reading performance of your students in each profile will be shown, and this will be displayed against the comparable data for students in a selection of other countries.
Students’ attitudes to mathematics and science: Students’ responses to questions related to their motivation and their sense of self-efficacy in mathematics and science will be outlined. The self-efficacy outcomes will show students’ levels of confidence regarding different mathematical and scientific learning tasks, while the motivational outcomes will indicate students’ attitudes towards learning mathematics and science, including the instrumental value that they place on these subjects. The outcomes for your school will be compared with those for the UK as a whole. Your report will also include graphics showing the mathematics and science scores of your school’s groups of most and least confident students, and most and least motivated students.
Section 4 - Your School Compared with Similar Schools in Your Country
This section of your report will focus on the relationship between the socio-economic status of students at your school and their PISA-Based Test for Schools performance. Outcomes for each of the three subjects will be shown graphically, plotted alongside comparable PISA data for the UK as a whole. Guidance on interpretation of the graphics will be given. Your report will also compare your school’s results for each of the three subjects, plotted against those of the schools in the UK with a similar socio-economic profile. These charts will indicate whether your school is serving students equally well across all three subjects or whether there are areas of relative strength and need for development. In addition, they will indicate how well schools with a similar socio-economic status serve their students across the subjects.
This section will also show your school’s results adjusted for socio-economic status and will compare that adjusted data with comparable PISA data for maintained/academy schools in the UK, and for independent schools in the UK, allowing you to see how well your school provides for students once the effect of socio-economic status is taken into account.
Section 5 - Your school’s results in an international context
This section will place your school’s performance in each of the three subjects in an international context for benchmarking. Your school will be compared with other schools in the UK and in a selection of other countries (predominantly those which are top-performing or have undertaken significant reforms and seen improvements in learning outcomes). A series of graphics will show how your school’s performance compares not just in terms of mean score, but also in terms of percentiles, socio-economic status, and proficiency levels. Examples of how education systems have implemented school improvement, tackled low performance and fostered the talent of students will also be included, along with discussions about: what makes a successful school and successful learning; lifelong learning skills; curriculum in the 21st century; disadvantage and inclusion.
References and annexes
Your report will include references to any research mentioned in your report and annexes containing relevant background information. For example, you will see that the sample report contains a technical summary, an overview of the assessment process, examples of test questions, and tables of relevant results for all countries and economies that participated in the most recently published cycle of the PISA main study.