PiSA 2015: An Analysis of the Findings for 4 Countries and the Implications for Policy and Practice

In the PISA tests for 2015 Science was the major subject of testing – the first time since 2006.  In addition, it was a major focus of the non-cognitive attitude questionnaire. Moreover, 2015 was the first year the test was administered wholly on computer permitting the use of simulations and other more complex forms of assessment of student performance.  The results, published in December, 2016 provide a rich and complex set of data of student performance and competence with science literacy. Science literacy in PISA is defined as “the ability to engage with science-related issues, and with the ideas of science, as a reflective citizen” and a scientifically literate person is “willing to engage in reasoned discourse about science and technology”.

In this symposium, four presenters will present the findings emerging for four different countries – the UK, Denmark, France and the USA and explore the implications for science teaching and learning and the broader policy implications both for these countries and other OECD countries with similar demographic profiles.  What, for instance, do the PISA data reveal about students’ level of achievement in explaining science, analyzing and interpreting data scientifically and evaluating and designing scientific inquiry?  How does their performance differ by gender and to what extent are countries succeeding in educating both low and high ability students?  Given that the test offers one of the most rigorous and systematic measures of any countries education performance, this symposium offers a valuable opportunity to identify strengths and weaknesses of each country and to identify important questions for further research.