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Past event

PISA and international education assessments


This event is now fully booked. Please email to be placed on the waiting list.

Large-scale international education studies, such as the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), have grown in prominence and importance over the last decade. Yet there has been much debate, and controversy, about the robustness of such studies, and how best the data that they generate can be used. The aim of this seminar is to discuss the methodological foundations of studies such as PISA, and what analyses of these data and cannot reveal. It will tackle issues such as the design of the PISA test, strengths, limitations and uncertainties with the PISA scaling model, and what this then means for users (and consumers) of these important data. Presentations will be given by experts from the UK and Germany, including individuals who have led the analysis of PISA 2015 national reports. 


  1. Dr. John Jerrim. Reader in Educational and Social Statistics at UCL Institute of Education. Led the writing of the PISA 2015 national reports for England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
  2. Professor John Micklewright. Professor of Economics and Social Statistics at the UCL Institute of Education.
  3. Dr. Christine Salzer. TUM School of Education, Germany. Led the writing of the PISA 2015 national reports for Germany.
09.30 Registration, followed by tea and coffee
10.00 Welcome and introductions
John Jerrim
10.15 International assessments. Setting the scene
John Jerrim
10.30 Table discussion. How do you think the PISA scores are produced?
10.50 Methods and issues around the production of PISA test scores
John Jerrim
11.20 Table discussion. What do you think the strengths and limitations are to the approach PISA uses? What would you like to see more detail about from the survey organisers?
11.50 Wrap up discussion of the morning session.
12.15 Lunch
13.00 How do the results from international assessments change if things are done a different way?
John Micklewright
13.30 Table discussion. How else should we be testing the robustness of results from international assessments such as PISA?
14.00 Methodological strengths and limitations of PISA 2015 from a German perspective
Christine Salzer

Table discussion. Reflections upon the views of German colleagues


Completion of evaluation forms


Summary, wrap-up and close


Close of seminar


BERA offer a limited amount of bursaries for BERA Student Members only.

  • Bursaries are available for BERA Student Members to the value of £50 towards travel, and complimentary registration for the event.

To apply for one of these bursaries, please email with a 200 word statement on why you want to attend this event. Bursaries are offered on a first come, first served basis. Once approved you will be sent details of how to register online. Travel expenses will be reimbursed after the event in accordance with our travel policies. You must not have previously received bursary funding from BERA in the current year.