Why Do Countries Participate in International Large-Scale Assessments? The Case of PISA

22 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Marlaine Lockheed

Marlaine Lockheed

Princeton University - Princeton School of Public and International Affairs; Center for Global Development; World Bank

Date Written: October 19, 2015


The number of countries that regularly participate in international large-scale assessments has increased sharply over the past 15 years, with the share of countries participating in the Programme for International Student Assessment growing from one-fifth of countries in 2000 to over one-third of countries in 2015. What accounts for this increase? This paper explores the evidence for three broad explanations: globalization of assessments, increasing technical capacity for conducting assessments, and increased demand for the microeconomic and macroeconomic data from these assessments. Data were compiled from more than 200 countries for this analysis, for six time periods between 2000 and 2015, yielding more than 1,200 observations. The data cover each country?s participation in each of six cycles of PISA as it relates to the country?s level of economic development, region, prior experience with assessment, and OECD membership. The results indicate that the odds of participation in PISA are markedly higher for OECD member countries, countries in the Europe and Central Asia region, high- and upper-middle-income countries, and countries with previous national and international assessment experience; the paper also finds that regional assessment experience is unrelated to PISA participation.

Keywords: Education for Development (superceded), Education Indicators and Statistics, Educational Policy and Planning - Institutional Development, Education For All, Educational Institutions & Facilities, Secondary Education, Educational Policy and Planning - Ministry of Education, Educational Policy and Planning, Educational Populations

Suggested Citation

Lockheed, Marlaine, Why Do Countries Participate in International Large-Scale Assessments? The Case of PISA (October 19, 2015). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 7447, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2676416

Marlaine Lockheed (Contact Author)

Princeton University - Princeton School of Public and International Affairs ( email )

Princeton University
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United States

Center for Global Development ( email )

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World Bank ( email )

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