Program for International Student Assessment (PISA)




The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) is a system of international assessments that allows countries to compare outcomes of learning as students near the end of compulsory schooling. PISA core assessments measure the performance of 15-year-old students in mathematics, science, and reading literacy every 3 years. Coordinated by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), PISA was first implemented in 2000 in 32 countries. It has since grown to 65 education systems in 2012.

Mean Pisa reading scores of 15 year olds in 2012


  1. Highest performers on average were native-born of mixed background.
  2. Next were foreign-born.
  3. Next were native-born offspring of native-born.
  4. Last were native-born offspring of foreign-born.

All of Ireland's average scores were higher than EU and OECD average by over 15 points (and in one case by over 50).

Ireland showed a much smaller difference in the range of scores, 16 points.
EU difference in range was over 40 points.
OECD difference in range was over 25 points.




Share of low school performers in reading
Ireland's 15 year old native-born offspring of foreign-born have a very low share of low performers in reading.
Ireland's 15 year old native-born offspring of mixed background have an almost equally low share of low performers in reading.
Ireland's 15 year old native-born offspring of native-born are a larger percentage of low performers in reading.
Ireland's 15 year old foreign-bornhave a larger again percentage (by only .5 percent) of low performers in reading.

In the OECD and the EU in all cases the average share of low performers who were not native-born offspring of native-born was a multiple of the percentage in Ireland.

In Ireland native-born offspring of native-born who were low school performers in reading were a smaller share (by several percentage points) than the average for that category in the EU and the OECD. Well done, Education.



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