Student performance in PISA at different times of the year

This PhD, commenced in October 2017, is undertaken by Sylvia Denner.

Title: What is the impact on student performance in reading, mathematics and science in PISA when students are tested at different times of the year (i.e. autumn vs. spring testing)?

Overview: This PhD study seeks to explore student performance in ‎an international large-scale educational assessment, PISA, the OECD’s Programme for International ‎Student Assessment (PISA), when testing is done at different times of the year. In Ireland, PISA has provided valuable information on the achievement of students that has informed policy making across a range of stakeholders. PISA has always been administered in the spring (March/April), but in the event of voluntary or enforced change to autumn testing, it will be important to quantify and explain the impact of change in testing window (the ‘session effect’) on any changes in performance (both involving age-based samples). ‎The analysis involves the comparison of data from the PISA 2018 Main Study carried out in the spring and a Feasibility Study carried out in the autumn of 2018. While student achievement is the main focus of the study, other student characteristics, such as engagement and motivation, will be explored to give a fuller portrayal of the impact of change in testing periods. This will be expanded on further with the opinions and views of a sample of teachers and principals.

Supervisors: Professor Michael O’Leary, CARPE, Dublin City University and Dr Gerry Shiel, Research Fellow, Educational Research Centre Dublin.