PISA, A Programme Exclusively to Measure Cognitive Thinking in 15 year olds

Education has not only gained elevated standards in contemporary times but also has nuanced dimensions. Evidently, students as well as teachers are occupied in the process to make a shift from the traditional mode of learning.

Earlier, it was more about getting good grades than gaining knowledge but now the situation is getting better day-by-day. At present, various programmes, applications, software etc are helping a lot to enhance educational environment. The officials and authorities are trying to provide a better space for children but India still hasn’t reached that level when compared to countries of South East Asia, Americas and Europe.

Fifteen year is an age where a child seeks mental and emotional development completely. For those students, Organisation for Economic and Social Development (OECD) has come up with a programme called PISA to measure fifteen-year-old competency in maths, reading and science. The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is an international survey conducted every three years worldwide to assess the knowledge of 15-year-old students to evaluate how they associate from what they have learnt to real life situation. Around 90 countries have participated till now and it began in 2000 which benefitted well for their holistic development.

India participated in 2009 and came second last among 73 participating countries. After almost a decade India has now decided to participate in 2021 which is clearly a move to shift focus from rote learning to competency-based education. Central government schools like Navodaya and Kendriya Vidyalaya and schools run by Union Territory of Chandigarh are in the list to represent India globally.

It is true that Robotics and Artificial Intelligence are remodelling every field but there are certain things which humans need to focus on like creativity, communication, collaboration and problem-solving.

21st century education is more about adapting tools for students to mainly focus on their skills and talents and use it accordingly.

The data from the recent years reveals that American schools were undeniably the best school in the whole world. The research from OECD shows that student performance in America remains stagnant whereas Asian countries are flourishing on a rapid pace. It is a clear fact that American education system is largely unmatched and their techniques are followed by most of the educational institution throughout the world.

Who is behind the ranking system?

It is the responsibility of OECD to conduct the ranking system and it has carried out effectively on 65 countries. They found out that students who score well in maths and science can be beneficial for the nation in its economic development. Therefore, for a country’s growth it is highly important to setup good schools and colleges otherwise the country would remain disadvantaged.

What does PISA evaluate?

PISA measures critical thinking in maths, reading and science which demands to draw knowledge from real life situations.

Who conducts PISA exams?

The exam is administered by PISA itself in 65 countries despite of caste, creed, gender or status. It is a great opportunity to master over prime subjects.

How can school systems use the data?

Researchers correlates economic success to high ranking of PISA. It is one of the indicators to see whether schools are grooming students towards the 21st century society. Some jobs require workers to think critically, connect ideas and implement it accordingly. It is seen that rich countries do not require large workforce to perform menial task. The PISA data collected has a great advantage on several levels which acts as a constant reminder on how much a nation has witnessed progress in education sector.

The data collected is also useful to check how much a particular school system has accomplished in moulding students towards cognitive thinking.

It helps in setting up benchmark for schools to improve the quality. However, it is difficult to understand what really is ‘best’ for schools to bring out reforms but these data help us in knowing where we lack behind or how much we have grown in providing good education.

Vinod Kakumanu

Vinod Kakumanu

Founder & Consultant - School Serv

Vinod Kakumanu heads a team of school services professionals and is an independent commentator on Indian school education scenario. Vinod has assisted school promoters establish 35+ schools besides providing ancillary services to over 1000 schools across India. He envisions a future where quality education is made available to every child of the country. The focus he places on the quality of the deliverables and customer satisfaction has made him renowned in the field of K-12 school education.

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