When students’ skills and knowledge are measured internationally, some countries get a big surprise – especially countries considered to have top-quality education. Take Germany, for example.
Germany’s first PISA results, in 2000, revealed low performance among students compared to their peers in other countries – this was called the “PISA shock”. Fortunately, this outcome
triggered large-scale education reforms in Germany, leading to greatly improved PISA performance.
On the other hand, PISA results are sometimes a pleasant surprise. Take for example the high performance in 2012 of Vietnam
– a country with low per capita income but, apparently, a very efficient education system.
Around the world, interest in measuring the real learning outcomes of school students has been on the increase. The number of countries participating in the PISA study, managed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
(OECD), grew from 32 in 2000 to 79 in 2018.
This year, Belarus participated in the PISA assessment for the first time, with support from the Belarus Education Modernization Project,
which is financed by the World Bank.