The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) is the OECD’s benchmarking tool to assess achievement and application of key knowledge and skills of 15 year-olds.
It tests proficiency in mathematics, reading, science, and problem-solving. PISA measures 15-year-olds’ ability to use their reading, mathematics and science knowledge and skills to meet real-life challenges.
PISA provides the most comprehensive and rigorous international assessment of student learning outcomes to date. Results from PISA indicate the quality and equity of learning outcomes attained around the world, and allow educators and policy makers to learn from the policies and practices applied in other countries.
Launched in 2000, PISA is conducted every three years, with a focus on one of the subjects in each round. In 2018, the focus is on Reading. The test was taken by representative samples from 79 countries, including nearly 600,000 students.
The results of PISA 2018 survey were released in early December 2019. Six MENA countries participated in the PISA 2018 round: Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Results of the PISA 2018 survey show that the six MENA countries continue to perform quite poorly, with a 55% of the learners in MENA stuck below the basic proficiency level in reading compared to 23% in OECD countries.
Saudi Arabia and Morocco are participating for the first time, and in both cases the results are disappointing. Moreover, the top performer in the region, United Arab Emirates, continues to decline, little by little, on each PISA wave.
Lebanon remains the region’s poorest performer in reading, despite a marginal improvement over 2015. Jordan has rebounded rather spectacularly and is the second non-OECD country to improve the most since 2015. Jordan becomes a textbook example of a country that has been able to recover and then significantly improve student assessment after a long fiscal crisis coupled with the Syrian refugee influx. Qatar is one of the seven countries in the world that shows continued improvement in all three subjects and in all PISA waves (since 2009).
The new 2018 PISA data are available through World Bank’s EdStats Learning Outcome Query. To locate the PISA indicators, filter or search for PISA in the Series selection window. The dataset includes reading, mathematics, and science mean scores, score distributions, and proficiency levels for 15 year old students in 79 countries. The dataset also includes gender disaggregation and all previous PISA rounds to compare performance over time.