The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) is a survey of the learning performance of 15-year-old school pupils in OECD and associate countries. Tests are run every three years and assess the knowledge and skills acquired by students in three fields of proficiency: reading, mathematics and science. The target age corresponds to the final year of compulsory education, so the results provide a valuable indicator of the competences each education system is able to guarantee for its citizenry.
PISA reports are also a unique source of background information on pupils’ attitudes and habits, the kind of families they belong to and the schools where they study, among other variables. This monograph examines three topics which contribute deeper insights into educational outcomes in Spain, using data from the last PISA report for the year 2009.
Firstly, it measures educational performance by reference to the full distribution of results, revealing major differences between education systems in more than just average performance scores. Also considered is education poverty, understood as the percentage of students falling below the proficiency threshold which the system should theoretically guarantee.
Secondly, it undertakes an empirical analysis for the case of Spain of the relationship between educational performance, economic growth and the labor market.
Finally, it explores regional differences in learning performance, seeking to identify the causes of the wide disparities observable across Spain’s autonomous communities.
The book’s contents should be of interest to researchers in the education field, education policy-makers at regional and national level and the teaching staff and heads of schools.