Special issue: Programme for International Student Assessment

School edition

December 2019

Special issue: Programme for International Student Assessment

The declining performance of Australian school students is in the spotlight again, following the release of 2018 PISA results this week.

PISA assesses skills that will be increasingly important in the future, like the ability to transfer and apply learning to new situations and unseen problems. This requires an understanding of fundamental concepts and principles, as well as the ability to think critically. It is in these areas that Australian 15-year-olds’ performances are declining.

In this special issue of Research Developments, we highlight key findings from PISA and what can be done to arrest the decline. This issue also explores Australian teacher and principal responses to the OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey, presents the findings of a three-year study into the effectiveness of school reporting practices, explores what Australian schools would like from business and much more.

I am sure you will find the following articles interesting and invite you to forward this email to colleagues who share your goal of improving learning.

Professor Geoff Masters AO
Chief Executive
Australian Council for Educational Research



ANALYSIS – PISA 2018: Australian students’ performance

A long-term national decline in reading, maths and science achievement has led, for the first time, to Australia’s achievement failing to exceed the OECD average in one of the assessment domains.


A snapshot of Australia’s achievement in the 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment.

COMMENT – How Australia’s education system stacks up

PISA national project manager Dr Sue Thomson says Australia has a great deal of work ahead for its education system to excel by international standards.

COMMENT – Focus on basics leaves schoolkids short in essential deep thinking

The declining performance of Australian school students is in the spotlight again. But is there anything governments can do to arrest the decline? Geoff Masters responds.



In other news

PISA explained

Sue Thomson and Kylie Hillman explained the significance of the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment, ahead of the release of results from the latest cycle.

Snapshot of Australian teachers and principals

Analysis of international survey data presents the views of Australian lower secondary school teachers and principals on equity and diversity, discipline and safety, teacher workload, principal effectiveness, school resourcing and much more.

Resource issues in secondary schools

Digital technology has emerged as the most inequitable resource issue impacting instruction in Australian secondary schools.

Report cards’ report card: showing potential, but with room for improvement

ACER has been investigating how effective parents, teachers and students consider report cards to be, and the results reveal room for improvement.

Creating games develops student skills

Gaming experts highlighted the benefits students gain from creating video games in a panel discussion following the Australian STEM Video Game Challenge award ceremony at PAX Aus, one of the world’s largest gaming conventions.

Exploring attitudes towards school engagement with business

Educators see business having a critical role to play as a partner to support Australian students, research shows.

Supporting early career teachers

The South Australian Department of Education engaged ACER to evaluate the effectiveness of its two-year Early Career Teacher Development program.