Why did Clayton participate in the PISA? The District sought to compare the District’s students at an international level and see how they match up against the highest performing countries in the world. The PISA is a measure to see if our students are globally competitive. At Clayton, we pride ourselves on setting high expectations, looking outside and benchmarking against the best.
Who took the PISA? All Clayton High School sophomores in the 2009-2010 school year were tested. The scores of only Clayton’s 15-year-olds were used in order to enhance the validity of comparing scores across nations. The scores for the 15-year-olds are directly comparable to the published values for other countries.
How did Clayton participate in the PISA? The District partnered with ACT to administer the PISA as part of ACT’s study to evaluate the college readiness benchmarks on the PLAN assessment with respect to international performance. Clayton High School formed the equivalent of its own country for the purpose of the assessment. While schools across the United States participated in the PISA, Clayton is unique in that because of our methodology, the scores for Clayton’s 15-year-old students are directly comparable to the published values for other countries.
Can we be sure the results are valid? Dr. Gary Phillips, a vice president and a chief scientist at the American Institutes for Research in Washington, has reviewed the results and has assured us that we should feel comfortable that the results are accurate and valid.
He stated: "I think your school district should be proud of your performance in this study and you should feel comfortable that the results are accurate and valid. From what I have read about the methodology of the study it appears the PISA assessment was administered under standardized conditions and your school district tested all sophomores, which is a representative sample of students just like each country in PISA tested a representative sample. Therefore, you should be able to directly compare the results of your school district to the nations in the larger PISA study. Such comparisons should help inform your district about how you competitively stack up internationally and help you compare what you do in your school district to what works around the world. Congratulations to the teachers and students in your school district for their outstanding academic achievements."
More About the PISA
What is the PISA? The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) is an international standardized assessment that focuses on young people’s ability to use their knowledge and skills to meet real-life challenges. It evaluates the quality, equity and efficiency of school systems in some 70 countries that, together, make up nine-tenths of the world economy. It is a project of the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), a unique forum where governments work together to address the economic, social and environmental challenges of globalization. The PISA is administered every three years. The assessment considers students’ knowledge in these areas not in isolation, but in relation to their ability to reflect on their knowledge and experience and apply them to real-world issues. The emphasis is on mastering processes, understanding concepts and functioning in various contexts within each assessment area.
What is the history of PISA? Responding to member countries’ demands for regular and reliable data on the knowledge and skills of their students and the performance of their education systems, the OECD began work on PISA in the mid-1990s. PISA was officially launched in 1997, with the first survey taking place in 2000, the second in 2003, the third in 2006 and the fourth in 2009. Future surveys are planned in 2012, 2015 and beyond.
What makes PISA unique? PISA benefits from its worldwide scope and its regularity. More than 70 countries and economies have taken part in PISA so far and the surveys, which are given every three years, allow them to track their progress in meeting key learning goals. PISA is the only international education survey to measure the knowledge and skills of 15-year-olds, an age at which students in most countries are nearing the end of their compulsory time in school. PISA is also unique in the way it looks at: public policy issues, literacy and lifelong learning.
Which countries/economies participate in PISA? All OECD member countries participated in the first three PISA surveys, along with certain partner countries and economies. The United States is an OECD member. For PISA 2009, 65 countries/economies implemented the assessment in 2009 (with results published on Dec. 7, 2010). A further nine implemented the same assessment in 2010, the results of which will be available in December 2011. Click here for the full list of PISA 2009 participants.
Who takes the PISA tests? Schools in each country are randomly selected by the international contractor for participation in PISA. At these schools, the test is given to 15-year-old students at these schools. This average age of 15 was chosen because at this age young people in most OECD countries are nearing the end of compulsory education. The selection of schools and students is kept as inclusive as possible, so that the sample of students comes from a broad range of backgrounds and abilities.
What does PISA test? Every PISA survey tests reading, mathematical and scientific literacy in terms of general competencies, that is, how well students can apply the knowledge and skills they have learned at school to real-life challenges. PISA does not test how well a student has mastered a school’s specific curriculum.