The Programme for International Student Assessment, PISA, is run by the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD). Every three years, the competencies of 15-year-old students are measured in the areas of reading, natural sciences and mathematics in around 70 participating countries. The publication of the PISA results always meets considerable interest even beyond the community of experts because PISA delivers crucial, scientifically sound contributions to educational discourse.

Centre for International Student Assessment

The Centre for International Student Assessment (Zentrum für internationale Bildungsvergleichsstudien, ZIB) has been in charge of running the PISA assessments in Germany since 2012, and coordinates German research on international student assessments. Here, DIPF contributes its competence and experience in managing international large-scale assessments.

The ZIB benefits from the innovative work carried out by DIPF in the areas of competence assessment and technology-based test procedures. The Centre for Technology Based Assessment (TBA Centre) (with its ZIB Professorship for Educational and Psychological Assessment, held by Professor Dr. Frank Goldhammer) has already developed innovative tools for computer-based assessment for PISA 2009, PISA 2012 and PIAAC

Alongside DIPF, the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the Leibniz Institute for Science and Mathematics Education (IPN) form the Centre for International Student Assessment (ZIB). The ZIB board of directors is chaired by Professor Dr. Kristina Reiss (TUM School of Education), with Prof. Dr. Frank Goldhammer (DIPF) as vice chairman, and Professor Olaf Köller (IPN) as board member.

PISA and DIPF: Role and Tasks

Since 2009, DIPF has participated in the conceptual design and analysis of PISA studies in various ways:

  • For PISA 2009, DIPF was in charge of national project management.
  • In PISA 2012, the OECD commissioned Professor Klieme to chair the international Questionnaire Expert Group, responsible for questionnaire development.
  • For PISA 2015, DIPF was the first German institution to be internationally in charge of the framework concept, development and analysis of all implemented questionnaires, including the development of indicators for worldwide educational monitoring in the context of PISA 2015.

For PISA 2018, DIPF has once more been commissioned with the development and analysis of all questionnaires.

PISA Study: Achievement Tests and Questionnaires

Simply put, the PISA studies consist of two parts. Achievement tests assessing the performance of 15-year- old students in certain subjects are run across different countries. Also, questionnaires are administered to students, school principals, teachers and parents, capturing important contextual factors in education and depicting learning conditions from an internationally comparative perspective.

Since PISA 2012, DIPF has shared responsibility for these questionnaires, which are highly relevant for the explanation of differences between participating countries. Together with the assessment of the achievement tests, the questionnaires deliver important information regarding the further development of school and instructional quality.

Large-Scale Assessment at DIPF

The term large-scale assessment refers to achievement tests that are applied in usually international, school performance studies – they play a crucial role in the German education system. Today, DIPF is leading in the area of large-scale assessment, drawing on many years of experience managing such projects and always using collected data as an instrument in research on school and instructional quality.

At DIPF, the Department of Educational Quality and Evaluation is responsible for the conceptualisation, implementation and analysis of such assessments. Researchers in this department are engaged in studying aspects of quality in education on the basis of collected data sets. The focal area of competence assessment (educational measurement) is crucial here. The department possesses the methodological knowledge to measure competencies, and develop and scale tests and questionnaires.

DIPF Publications on PISA

Publications by DIPF scientists on PISA (since 2001)