Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA)
Detailed information for 2009
Every 3 years
Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is an international assessment of the skills and knowledge of 15 year-olds which aims to assess whether students approaching the end of compulsory education have acquired the knowledge and skills that are essential for full participation in society.
Data release - December 7, 2010
Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is an international assessment of the skills and knowledge of 15 year-olds which aims to assess whether students approaching the end of compulsory education have acquired the knowledge and skills that are essential for full participation in society. PISA is developed jointly by member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
The survey gathers cross-sectional data, and will use a new sample of 15 year-olds for each cycle of the survey. PISA assessments take place every three years and focus on three domains: reading literacy, mathematical literacy and scientific literacy. While the three domains form the core of each cycle, two-thirds of the assessment time in each cycle will be devoted to a "major" domain.
An international dataset, which includes Canadian data and full documentation for this dataset, can be found under www.pisa.oecd.org.
PISA/YITS is one project, which consists of two parallel survey programs: the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and the Youth in Transition Survey (YITS).
PISA is an international assessment of the skills and knowledge of 15 year-olds which aims to assess whether students approaching the end of compulsory education have acquired the knowledge and skills that are essential for full participation in society.
YITS is designed to examine the patterns of, and influences on, major transitions in young people's lives, particularly with respect to education, training and work. Human Resources and Skills Development Canada and Statistics Canada have been developing the YITS in consultation with provincial and territorial ministries and departments of labour and education. Content includes measurement of major transitions in young people's lives including virtually all formal educational experiences and most about-market experiences, achievement, aspirations and expectations, and employment experiences. The implementation plan encompasses a longitudinal survey of each of two groups, ages 15 and 18-20, to be surveyed every two years.
The 15 year-old respondents to the Reading Cohort (conducted in 2000) participated in both PISA (record number 5060) and YITS (record number 5058). Starting in 2002, they were followed up longitudinally by YITS (record number 4435). In 2009, a sub-sample of this cohort also participated in the Reading Skills Reassessment.
Reference period: School year (September - May)
Collection period: April to May
- Education, training and learning
Data sources and methodology
The survey population was comprised of students who were 15 years of age and were attending any form of schooling in the ten provinces of Canada. Schools on Indian reserves were excluded, as were various types of schools for which it would be infeasible to administer the survey, such as home schooling and special needs schools. These exclusions represent less than 4% of 15-year-olds in Canada.
A number of students from each selected school were randomly selected to participate in the PISA assessment in reading, mathematics and science and to answer some questions about their school, their interests, their experiences at school and work (such as extracurricular activities, volunteer work, and summer employment), and their family (such as parental occupation, and parental involvement in the education of their youth).
In PISA 2009 a rotated test design was used to assess student performance in reading, mathematical and scientific literacy as well as problem solving. This type of test design ensured a wide coverage of content while at the same time keeping the testing burden on individual students low. Thirteen different test booklets were distributed at random to students. These booklets included questions assessing reading, mathematical and scientific literacy as well as problem solving, but not all booklets assessed the same domains. While reading (the major domain for PISA 2009) was assessed in all booklets, mathematics, science and problem solving (the minor domains) were assessed in selected booklets. Students were randomly assigned a testing booklet within each of the sampled schools.
This is a sample survey with a cross-sectional design.
Over 60 countries participated in PISA 2009. In most countries, between 4,000 and 10,000 15 year-olds participated in PISA.
In Canada, approximately 23,000 15 year-old students from more than 900 schools participated. The large Canadian sample was needed to produce reliable estimates for each province and for both English and French language school systems in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
Responding to this survey is voluntary.
Data are collected directly from survey respondents.
The PISA session occurs in the school and consists of: a two-hour written PISA assessment, a PISA Student questionnaire (40 minutes) and a Canadian Student Questionnaire (30 minutes).
In addition, school administrators were also asked to complete the PISA School Administrator's questionnaire. This questionnaire took 30 minutes to complete.
View the Questionnaire(s) and reporting guide(s).
A series of verifications took place to ensure that the records were consistent and that collection and capture of the data did not introduce errors. Reported data were examined for completeness and consistency using automated edits coupled with manual review.
No imputation is done for this survey.
The estimation of population characteristics from a survey is based on the premise that each sampled unit represents, in addition to itself, a certain number of non-sampled units in the population. A basic survey weight is attached to each record to indicate the number of units in the population that are represented by that unit in the sample. This basic weight is derived from the sample design.
An initial weight was derived based on the two-stage sample design used for this survey. A number of non-response adjustments are applied in order to obtain final weights. More than one adjustment is required because non-response can occur at various levels (e.g. schools and students).
Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any information it collects that could identify any person, business, or organization, unless consent has been given by the respondent or as permitted by the Statistics Act. Various confidentiality rules are applied to all data that are released or published to prevent the publication or disclosure of any information deemed confidential. If necessary, data are suppressed to prevent direct or residual disclosure of identifiable data.
Revisions and seasonal adjustment
This methodology does not apply to this survey.
Data quality is affected by both sampling and non-sampling errors. Non-sampling errors were minimized through testing (focus group, pilot survey and main survey); training of regional office staff; and observation by head office personnel. Quality assurance measures were implemented at each step of the data collection and processing cycle to monitor data quality. For sampling error, data reliability guidelines were established based on coefficient of variation (CV). It is recommended that any estimate based on fewer than 30 observations or with a CV greater than 33.3% not be released.
The table below provides an indication of data quality for the estimated average science score for 15-year-olds by province. Additional data quality indicators are presented in all PISA publications.