Thursday, May 30, 2024
HomeNewsOECD to introduce new Pisa English test

OECD to introduce new Pisa English test

A new “Foreign Language Assessment” element will be included in the OECD’s global Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) for 15- year-olds – initially the foreign language tested is to be English.

Pisa, which is conducted every three years, currently assesses science, maths and reading (first language) using two-hour, computer-adaptive tests for each subject. The results have become the main metric by which the success of national education systems are measured (at least, for the 78 countries that choose to take part).

English will be assessed on three skills – speaking, listening and reading – marking the first time that aural skills will have been tested in the Pisa suite. The listening and reading assessments will be held in 2021 in Russia, Colombia, Switzerland and Spain, the OECD’s Spencer Wilson told the Gazette.

In 2022, countries will decide whether they want to take part in the English tests, with “field trials”

in 2024 and the first Pisa test including English language administered in 2025.

The tests, which are currently being developed by OECD in partnership with Cambridge English Assessments, will be linked to the CEFR, covering levels A1- C1. The “possible inclusion of level pre-A1,” is being mooted, according to Pisa’s website.

Accompanying the testing, Pisa also distributes questionnaires for schools designed to inform government policy. Questions on the use of English in information technology classes and on “use of the target language for instruction in other subjects” are expected to be the main focus for the first round of Foreign Language Assessment questionnaires.

“There have been many attempts to compare language learning around the world,” Hanan Khalifa of Cambridge Assessment English explained, “but none of these has provided a properly systematic approach to language education in schools which can help to shape education policies at a national and regional level. It should provide unprecedented insights

into the effectiveness of language teaching and learning worldwide.” A Gazette analysis comparing national results from existing Pisa tests with indicative test scores on international English language exams, published on page 18, however, suggests that European countries are likely to outperform most of Asia, largely as a result of the linguistic distance between non Indo-European language such as Japanese and the target language, English. Speakers of

closely related Germanic languages, such as Dutch and Swedish, outperform other countries on international English tests.

As reported in last month’s Gazette, a study of 50,000 learners of Dutch showed that the strongest predictor of learning outcomes in Dutch was the student’s first language, with only the top 5 per cent of Arabic speakers outperforming the bottom 50 per cent of Germans.

Matt Salusbury
Matt Salusbury
MATT SALUSBURY, news editor and journalist, has worked for EL Gazette since 2007. He is also joint Chair of the London Freelance Branch of the National Union of Journalists and co-edits its newsletter, the Freelance. He taught English language for 15 years in the Netherlands, in Turkey, in a North London further education college and now as an English for Academic Purposes tutor, most recently at the London School of Economics. He is a native English speaker and is also fluent in Dutch.
- Advertisment -

Latest Posts