While Malta has already missed out on taking part in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) for 2012, it risks also being left out of the study for 2015 if it does not apply in the coming two weeks as the deadline for applications is 31 August 2012.
PISA 2012 is the fifth cycle of a study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) measuring the achievement of 15-year-old students in nearly 70 countries around the world.
The assessment is done every three years and first started in 2000. Each assessment has a focus on one of three main subject areas, mathematics, science and reading. Mathematics is the focus for this cycle of PISA, with a new topic - financial literacy - also being assessed for the first time. Malta has taken part in the study for 2009 but government has decided not take part in the study that has been held in 68 countries around the world between April and June 2012.
The PISA 2009 study about Malta concluded that at least a third of 15 year olds in Malta lack the linguistic, mathematical and scientific literacy skills needed to function properly in today’s world. Malta’s students were estimated to have an average score significantly higher than for the lowest performing OECD country, Mexico. The Maltese average was statistically the same as those for Serbia, Costa Rica and Bulgaria.
In 2015, PISA’s main focus will be testing the scientific literacy of students around the world. The test will feature significant new elements:
A new Collaborative Problem Solving assessment will be added, in recognition of the ways young people will have to learn and work throughout their lives. The educational company Pearson has been contracted to develop this new domain for PISA.
Pearson will also provide advice to the PISA study on the benefits, opportunities and implications of implementing computer adaptive testing for PISA in future.
Pearson International chief executive John Fallon said:
“High quality education is vital to a nation's economic development and social well-being - and PISA is a key benchmark by which nations can measure their own progress and learn from each other. So we are thrilled to have the chance to work with the OECD and academic communities around the world to develop the 2015 test.
“We are committed to developing a global benchmark that, through assessing a wider range of skills and making better use of technology, will be even more relevant to helping countries prosper in an increasingly global and knowledge-based economy."
Head of the PISA programme at the OECD Andreas Schleicher said:
“PISA 2015 has the potential to be the start of a new phase of our international assessments. We need to make much smarter use of technology in how we test young people, and we need to assess problem-solving abilities as governments around the world seek to equip young people with the skills they need for life and employment.
“Pearson has put forward an ambitious strategy to support the OECD and member governments in creating a global benchmark for education.”