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PISA: What It Measures, Why It Matters


Susan K. Sclafani
, Director, State Services, National Center on Education and the Economy
Vivien Stewart, Senior Advisor for Education, Asia Society
Bob Wise, President, Alliance for Excellent Education

The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is one of the few mechanisms for regularly and directly comparing the quality of educational outcomes in the countries that make up almost 90 percent of the world’s economy. The 2009 PISA results, which show the performance of fifteen-year-olds in reading, mathematics, and science, was released on December 7, 2010. These results show how well U.S. students can apply their knowledge to solve problems, and how their performance compares with that of their peers in seventy countries.

On December 6, the Alliance for Excellent Education held a webinar to provide background on PISA to prepare educators and policymakers for the results. The webinar described what PISA measures, how the United States has performed on past examinations, and why the results matter for the nation’s future. The discussion was followed by an interactive conversation with experts using questions submitted by participants from around the country.


PISA: What It Measures, Why It Matters, a PowerPoint presentation by Bob Wise, Alliance for Excellent Education (PDF)

U.S. Response to PISA, a PowerPoint presentation by Susan Sclafani, National Center on Education and the Economy (PDF)


PISA 2009 Results

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