In 2009, Mid Sweden University is again entrusted by the Swedish National Agency for Higher Education to continue to lead the Swedish PISA study.
The PISA study is run by OECD and it evaluates how fifteen-year-old students in different countries are equipped for the future when they finish school. The study is carried out every third year, beginning in the year 2000. The evaluation is primarily done through tests in four areas: mathematics, natural science, reading comprehension and problem solving.
PISA often receives a lot of attention in the media, especially in the countries that do not receive top marks for their schools – among them Sweden.
– However, as researchers, we try to encourage reflection and learning rather than to paint everything black, says Magnus Oskarsson, university lector and project leader of the study.
Magnus leads a project group of 7-8 people from Mid Sweden University and 2-3 people from Stockholm University. The group works with the development of tests, testing, collection of data and analysis of the results.
– Right now, we are preparing for the next main survey, which will be conducted in 2015. We are in contact with 210 randomly chosen schools, where 36 students from each school will participate. The rules for how the tests are carried out are very strict, in order to ensure that the results in different countries will be comparable, says Magnus.
In the PISA study, great emphasis is put on the students’ ability to use their knowledge in a context. They should be able to understand processes, interpret and reflect on information, and solve problems.