What does the PISA report mean for my school?

The most recent PISA results were released in early December, 2023 and quickly became news. While some of the news was positive, most was quite glum. However, the value in the report is in how it can be used to best support our students. In other words, how can it inform instructional decisions? We’ve put together the following brief guide to provide a quick answer for school leaders and educators alike.

What makes this report important and relevant?

PISA stands for Program for International Student Assessment. The test measures 15-year-old’s ability to use reading, math, and science knowledge and skills on real-world problems. In the year 2022, PISA saw the participation of 81 education systems, encompassing 37 member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) alongside 44 other countries and subnational education systems. Regardless of where you are located, the PISA results can be used as inspiration for continual improvement of instructional strategies.

What did the report find?

The over one-thousand page report is quite in-depth. For the purposes of this discussion, we are going to focus on three high-level takeaways:

  1. Mean performance fell by ten score points in reading and by almost 15 score points in mathematics, which is equivalent to three-quarters of a year’s worth of learning.
  2. One in four 15-year-olds is now considered a low performer in mathematics, reading, and science on average.
  3. Teachers’ support is particularly important in times of disruption, including by providing extra pedagogical and motivational support to students.  


How can the Science of Learning help?

An understanding of how the brain learns can improve instructional practices. This can bolster skill development and knowledge acquisition which the PISA report identifies as necessary and timely. For example, teachers who understand the Science of Learning know how to present information in a way that is engaging, meaningful, and memorable. Their students are better able to master the information and transfer this knowledge to different contexts beyond the classroom. In addition, we have programs for school leaders and students to support this important work. Learn more about COGx professional development and programs for students.

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