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PISA - Sample Questions


     The OECD is a unique forum where the governments of 30 democracies work together to address the economic, social and environmental challenges of globalisation. The OECD is also at the forefront of efforts to understand and to help governments respond to new developments and concerns, such as corporate governance, the information economy and the challenges of an ageing population. The Organisation provides a setting where governments can compare policy experiences, seek answers to common problems, identify good practice and work to co-ordinate domestic and international policies.

      The OECD member countries are: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, the Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States. The Commission of the European Communities takes part in the work of the OECD.

      OECD Publishing disseminates widely the results of the Organisation’s statistics gathering and research on economic, social and environmental issues, as well as the conventions, guidelines and standards agreed by its members.

      Parents, students, teachers, school leaders, governments and the general public need good information on how well their education systems prepare students for life. A growing commitment by governments tomonitor the outcomes of education systems in terms of student achievement on a regular basis and within an internationally agreed framework led to the launch of the OECD’s Programme for International Assessment (PISA) in 1997.


      There have so far been three PISA surveys: in 2000, 2003 and 2006. The results from PISA provide a new basis for policy dialogue and for collaboration in defining and implementing educational goals, in innovative ways that reflect judgements about the skills that are relevant to adult life.

      What does PISA actually assess? This report brings together all the publicly available questions in reading, mathematics and science and, together with the PISA assessment frameworks, gives a solid overview of the PISA test. Some of these questions were used in the PISA 2000, 2003 and 2006 surveys and others were used in developing and trying out the assessment. For the questions used in the PISA 2000, 2003 and 2006 surveys, country results are provided in Annex B to allow an overview of how well students did in each country on different types of questions.

      Each chapter in this report has two distinct sections: the first presents the questions and the second presents the answers to these questions. This allows the reader to take the test!



Product Description


      What does PISA actually assess? This book presents all the publicly available questions from the PISA surveys. Some of these questions were used in the PISA 2000, 2003 and 2006 surveys and others were used in developing and trying out the assessment. After a brief introduction to the PISA assessment, the book presents three chapters, including PISA questions for the reading, mathematics and science tests, respectively. Each chapter presents an overview of what exactly the questions assess. The second section of each chapter presents questions which were used in the PISA 2000, 2003 and 2006 surveys, that is, the actual PISA tests for which results were published. The third section presents questions used in trying out the assessment. Although these questions were not used in the PISA 2000, 2003 and 2006 surveys, they are nevertheless illustrative of the kind of question PISA uses. The final section shows all the answers, along with brief comments on each question.


Table of Content



Chapter 1. Introduction to the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA)

The Aims of PISA

The PISA Surveys

The PISA Results

The PISA Questions

Chapter 2. Reading Sample Tasks and Answers

Chapter 3. Mathematics Sample Tasks and Answers

Chapter 4. Science Sample Tasks and Answers

Annex A. PISA Scales

Annex B. Country Results for PISA 2000, 2003 and 2006 Questions

Annex C. List of Questions with Codes and Sources

Annex D. Guide to Further Reading



The aims of PISA


     PISA aims to measure how far students approaching the end of compulsory education have acquired some of the knowledge and skills essential for full participation in the knowledge society. PISA surveys are carried out every three years in a large number of countries, that together make up close to 90% of the world economy.

     The first PISA survey was carried out in 2000 in 43 countries, the second in 2003 in 41 countries and the most recent survey was carried out in 2006 in 57 countries. The next assessments will take place in 2009, 2012 and 2015. The primary objective is monitoring the outcomes of education systems in terms of student achievement to provide empirically grounded information which will inform policy decisions. PISA is steered by representatives from participating countries through the PISA Governing Board.

     The Directorate  for Education at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) manages PISA and draws on the knowledge of a rich network of international experts.


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