ETS Wins Major Contract for OECD’s PISA 2018 Cycle

Tom Ewing
1-609-683-2803
mediacontacts@ets.org

Princeton, N.J. (Jan. 20, 2015) – The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has chosen Educational Testing Service (ETS) to manage and develop the 2018 cycle of the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA.) PISA results are used by educators and policymakers worldwide to evaluate and improve their educational systems and promote learning. 

ETS will be responsible for overall project management including survey design, test development, operations and quality control, expansion of the computer platform, as well as data processing, scaling and analysis. The work for the 2018 cycle began in July 2014 and runs through September 2020. ETS will collaborate with, and coordinate the work of, three other core contractors.

“For nearly 70 years, ETS’s mission has been to help advance quality and equity in education for people worldwide by providing research, products, and services to measure knowledge and skills and promote learning,” says Walt MacDonald, President and CEO of ETS. “This latest PISA contract embodies that mission and our selection can be credited to the talented staff that has already done such outstanding work for the OECD in recent years.”

PISA is administered every three years. ETS is currently playing a key role in PISA 2015, which will be administered to nationally representative samples of in-school 15 year olds in over 70 participating countries. As a result of this latest contract, ETS will assume an even larger role for PISA 2018.

“It is an honor and a privilege for ETS to be selected to lead the world’s largest international reading, science and math assessment,” says Irwin Kirsch, director of the Center for Global Assessment at ETS and holder of the Ralph W. Tyler Chair in Large Scale Assessment. “Winning PISA 2018 provides ETS with an opportunity to continue to work with the OECD and participating countries to build on the foundation of innovation that has been a cornerstone of PISA since its inception.  Across the PISA cycles, important innovations have been introduced both in terms of assessment domains and modes of assessment.” 

One of those innovations is evident in PISA 2015, which marks a significant shift away from a primarily paper-and-pencil assessment to one that is being computer-delivered in most participating countries. ETS was selected for this cycle due to the innovative assessment design and proposed psychometric analyses submitted, as well as its proven ability to design and deliver a large-scale computer-based assessment.

For the 2015 cycle, ETS is responsible for building and delivering the computer platform upon which the tests will be delivered as well as a communication portal for sharing project information and coordinating project activities with participating countries and the OECD. In addition, the company developed new cognitive assessments of Scientific Literacy and Collaborative Problem Solving, as well as adapting existing trend items in Reading, Mathematics, Science and Financial Literacy for computer delivery.

“ETS has proposed innovations for the 2018 cycle that would introduce the use of adaptive testing,” Kirsch says. “In addition, they would diminish the distinction between major and minor domains that has been the focus of previous cycles and let us study the use of new adaptations that would make PISA more accessible to students with special needs.”