1. Broad description
OECD's Programmes for International Student Assessment (PISA) are conducted every three years in order to collect student achievement indicators in a number of areas, such as reading, mathematics and science. Information is collected both on students and their schools. PISA is currently in its third project cycle: the first being conducted in 42 countries in 2000 (PISA 2000), the second in 41 countries in 2003 (PISA 2003), and the third cycle in 57 countries in 2006 (PISA2006). Data and instruments for all PISA cycles are available on the OECD PISA website (www.pisa.oecd.org). Released data include microdata files, statistical tables published in the international reports, and special tables generated at the request of researchers.
2. Why is it good practice?
An Agreement concerning the confidentiality in the use of PISA materials is established between the OECD and the countries participating in PISA. This agreement specifies that the use of all materials from the OECD/PISA is permitted solely for the national implementation of PISA in the participating country, preparation of national reports or documents, with the provision that no information derived from these materials shall be published or otherwise disseminated to any individual other than those identified in the Agreement prior to the publication of the first international PISA report by the OECD, or without prior consent from the OECD. The OECD reserves the right to terminate the Agreement at any time with immediate effect, for the reasons of failing to meet any requirements of the Agreement.
In the microdata files, student and school information are kept anonymous through the use of randomly assigned identification numbers and codes. This system has ensured anonymity while maintaining high levels of accuracy.
Released PISA data provide reliable and internationally comparable indicators that meet high technical standards. Only data concerning participating countries that have fully satisfied PISA Technical Standards in the areas of sampling (including population coverage, exclusions and response rates), translation and translation verification, test administration, quality monitoring, coding, data entry and data submission, are included in PISA international microdata files. Since a number of same items and instruments are used across all cycles, researchers have the opportunity to compare indicators over time.
The PISA microdata files are released publicly through the PISA website in the first week of December in the year following that of data collection. This occurs concurrently with the release of the initial PISA international reports of each cycle. Researchers worldwide are immediately able to replicate the analysis presented in the international reports. Concerning PISA 2006, the data set is planned to be released on December 4, 2007. Participating countries are currently required to strictly maintain the embargo on releasing any results until that date.
3. Target audience
All stakeholders involved in education: policy makers, researchers, teachers, school principals, parents and students.
4. Detailed description
In the PISA website, four data functions are available for each programme cycle:
- Downloading of microdata files: user can download questionnaires, code books, microdata files in TXT format, SPSS and SAS control files, and compendia. With these microdata files, researchers can conduct analysis and run models using statistical software such as SPSS and SAS. The PISA 2003 student microdata file includes more than 400 variables for approximately 276000 students. The PISA 2003 school microdata file includes 190 variables for approximately 10000 schools.
- Interactive data selection: user can construct tables by selecting countries and variables. Tables are immediately generated through the website. Included are estimates for the variable selected, student performance determined by the selected variable, as well as standard errors.
- Multi-dimensional data request: user can access more complex analytical results by selecting multiple variables. Results can be mailed directly to users through an email service based on the website.
- PISA data service: more advanced or customised analysis is available for a fee.
All data files and data functions are available on the PISA website without requiring special registration. The entire data set is available publicly free of charge through the website. Various on-line functions (as described above) are available for handling and interpretation of PISA data. Users can select an on-line data function depending on their technical ability and the aim of analysis.
There is sufficient confidence in the arrangements for protecting confidentiality in the project. The high participation in PISA ensures the quality of the resulting statistics.
Analysis of the PISA microdata may be complicated because it requires understanding and application of high-level statistical knowledge. In order to support researchers in conducting analysis, PISA 2003 Data Analysis Manual has been published. The Manual explains the methodological approach applied by PISA as well as SPSS and SAS macros and syntax for correct computation.
Since the data found in PISA microdata files can be quite extensive, computation time may be lengthy depending on a computer used. It is recommended that user defines cases selected and variables necessary for the analysis as narrowly as possible to ensure effective analysis.
OECD (2005) PISA 2003 Data Analysis Manual. OECD. Paris.
Further information on PISA is available on the PISA web site (www.pisa.oecd.org).
30 Aug 2013