PISA 2006 is the third cycle of the Programme for International Student Assessment - a survey that was first conducted in 2000 and is being repeated every three years. All OECD/PISA surveys are part of a data strategy and share the same goals. What is OECD/PISA? The research question that PISA 2006 is trying to give answer to is: 'As citizens, what is important to know, value, and be able to do in situations involving science and technology?'.
The term that best describes the purposes of the PISA 2006 science assessment is scientific literacy. The term scientific literacy has been chosen because it not only refers to scientific knowledge but also connotes its application in the context of life situations. More specifically scientific literacy refers to an individual's:.
- Scientific knowledge and use of that knowledge to identify questions, to acquire new knowledge, and to draw evidence-based conclusions about science-related issues;
- Understanding of the characteristic features of science as a form of human knowledge and enquiry;
- Awareness of how science and technology shape our material, intellectual, and cultural environments; and
- Willingness to engage in science-related issues, and with the ideas of science, as a reflective citizen.
As in PISA 2000 and PISA 2003, the target population is that of 15-years olds in educational programmes. The instruments used are:
- a cognitive instrument
- two context questionnaires - student questionnaire and school questionnaire
PISA covers the domains of reading, mathematical and scientific literacy. Each cycle looks in depth at a 'major domain', to which two thirds of the testing time is devoted. The major domain in 2006 is 'scientific literacy', while test items from past editions will be used to assess reading and mathematical literacy. Analysing the results will not only provide valuable knowledge concerning cross-curricular competencies, but also help develop trend indicators showing how results change over time.
PISA 2006 previews also some international options:
- Computer Based Assessment of Science (CBAS)
Items developed for the computer-based assessment are based on the same science framework as the paper-based assessment, however the computer-based assessment includes items that are interactive and items that use multimedia such as animations and movies as stimulus.
- ICT Familiarity Questionnaire
A short questionnaire administered to assess how familiar students are with Information Communication Technologies. Note that for countries participating in the CBAS option the ICT Familiarity Questionnaire is compulsory.
- Parent Questionnaire
The PISA 2006 Questionnaire Expert Group has recommended that a parent questionnaire is developed to add value to many of the areas of contextual focus, including parental involvement in education and awareness of environmental issues.
National options are previewed also.
A national option occurs if:
- a National Centre administers any additional instrumentation, for example a test or questionnaire, to schools or students that are part of the PISA international sample ( Note that in the case of adding items to the questionnaires, an addition of 5 or more items to either the school questionnaire or student questionnaire is regarded as a national opt);
- a National Centre administers any PISA international instrumentation to any students or schools that are not part of the PISA i nternational sample.
Countries participating in the 2006 assessment are:
Argentina, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Chinese Taipei, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Esthonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong-China, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuanian Republic, Luxembourg, Macao-China, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russian Federation, Serbia-Montenegro, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay.