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PISA prep under way

Monday, July 22, 2019

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THE Ministry of Education, Youth and Information is preparing for the administration of the 2021 Programme for International Students Assessment (PISA).

PISA is a triennial study of education systems which is carried out by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). It involves administering a non-curriculum based assessment to 15-year-old students to generate comparable data on educational systems across the world.

“We conducted a needs assessment to find out how prepared the (education) system is for PISA. The ministry wanted to find out the benefits that we'll gain, the readiness of schools for this activity (PISA), and also the tasks required in implementing such an assessment,” assistant chief education officer, Programme Monitoring and Evaluation Unit, Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Sonia Dobson-Walters, told JIS News.

She noted that the needs assessment helped in identifying the perception of stakeholders, the benefits of the nation participating in PISA 2021, and the required inputs for the successful administration of the assessment.

“We wanted to examine our concerns in comparison to other nations which have administered PISA, so we did a study tour to the Dominican Republic and Peru where we conducted a mixed-method evaluation with the principals of past participating schools,” she added.

Dobson-Walters said the ministry has approached key education stakeholders, such as the deputy and chief education officers, the Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA), the Overseas Examination Council, local school principals, and regional education officers for their input in the successful administration of PISA.

“PISA will drive policy and structural development within the education sector. However, with regard to the input needed for the successful implementation of PISA, we will need an effective communication strategy to ensure stakeholders' buy in,” she said.

Dobson-Walters pointed out that the ministry has started to build the capacity to ensure that teachers can guide students in the use of the computers, as the assessment will be computer-based.

“PISA requires that we have a secure place to put information about students in regards to sampling and registration, so the local PISA registration and sampling committee is now in the process of retrofitting a software the ministry has, to ensure that student information is secured,” manager of the Education System Transformation Programme at the ministry, Daynea Facey, told JIS News.

Meanwhile, national programme manager, PISA, Marjorianna Clarke, said that before the assessment, the ministry will review the items students will be given.

“The purpose of this review and adaptation is to ensure that our students are not exposed to items that are not culturally relevant,” she shared.

Clarke highlighted that the ministry will undertake and complete all necessary administrative tasks by 2020 for the successful administration of PISA in 2021.


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