Pearson and Oxford University Centre for Educational Assessment awarded PISA 2021 contract for England, Northern Ireland and Wales

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Category: News

New contract will see both organisations collaborate on the implementation of this evaluation study with a focus on mathematics in over 450 schools.

Pearson, the world’s learning company, in collaboration with Oxford University Centre for Educational Assessment (OUCEA), today announced it has been awarded the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2021 contract by the Department for Education to operate as the National Centre for England, Wales and Northern Ireland. In total, around 90 countries and economies are expected to participate in PISA 2021, an international study which aims to evaluate education systems worldwide by measuring the knowledge and skills of students aged 15 years in reading, mathematics and science. The focus area in this PISA cycle will be mathematics.

Pearson will operate as the National Centre for PISA 2021 meaning that it will be responsible for the implementation of the study in over 450 schools in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, with Associate Professor Grace Grima, Director of Research at Pearson, as National Programme Manager. The OUCEA will be responsible for the data analysis, writing of the national reports and the dissemination of the PISA 2021 results, under the leadership of Professor Therese N. Hopfenbeck and Associate Professor Joshua McGrane.

Professor Jo-Anne Baird and Dr Jonas Bertling will form part of the Research Advisory Board responsible for quality assuring the research outputs. Dr Jenni Ingram (England), Professor Chris Taylor (Wales) and Professor Jannette Elwood (Northern Ireland) will provide additional advice as country experts.

In 2016, Pearson and OUCEA successfully delivered the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) in England, an international comparative assessment that assesses the reading comprehension development of late-Primary students. They will build upon this strong partnership when taking on the opportunity to deliver PISA 2021. Pearson has substantial expertise in delivering these types of international contracts and will leverage its extensive and comprehensive capabilities as well as its strong links with schools to ensure its successful implementation.

Associate Professor Grace Grima, Director of Research at Pearson, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded PISA 2021and look forward to delivering it alongside TIMSS 2019 in England and PIRLS 2021, also in England. Our partnership with OUCEA will ensure that we can combine the internationally-renowned research expertise of Oxford University with the benefits from Pearson’s capability, operational know-how and successful experience and delivery of other international contracts, placing high-quality delivery at the heart of everything we do.”

Professor Therese N. Hopfenbeck, Director of the OUCEA, said: “Our centre is very excited to be responsible for the analysis, reporting and dissemination for PISA 2021 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. We look forward to continuing our strong partnership with Pearson, building upon our experience from PIRLS 2016, to deliver a high-quality report and other deliverables which provide valuable educational information to all stakeholders, including policymakers, headteachers/principals and teachers.”

To find out more about the department’s Centre for Educational Assessment see: