For Pupils

Young People in Scotland to take part in international education survey October/November 2022

Over the next two months, more than 3,000 young people in 120 schools across Scotland will be asked to take part in an important international education study (PISA). The aim of the study is to gain a ‘snapshot’ of how the education system in Scotland compares with other countries and gather insights about the views of young people around the time they enter the Senior Phase or leave school/college.

If you have been asked to take part it means:

  • You will be asked to spend about 2 hours answering some questions on a school computer on maths, science and reading and then to complete a questionnaire that asks about your school and home life and asks your opinions on learning in Scotland.
  • It is really important that everyone invited takes part so that we can get a true picture of what education is like in Scotland as a whole – every pupil matters.
  • You do not need to do any preparation and your individual results will not be shared with anyone. It won’t contribute towards your grades.
  • Your taking part will help Scottish Government improve the education system in Scotland and to find out how best to support pupils as they prepare for life after school.

The results from the PISA assessment are very important and help to shape education systems across the world. In the last assessment in 2018, results were used to influence policies around the curriculum and Learning for Sustainability, while researchers were able to use the data to understand more about how subject choice and STEM works in schools.

You can find out more about PISA:

  • in this short Youtube clip
  • by visiting the About PISA page
  • or by reading the answers to some frequently asked questions below.

It is your participation that makes PISA a success, and we, the Scottish Government and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) are all very grateful to the pupils who take part.

What does PISA involve?

The PISA study will take place at your school/college [1] during normal school hours. During the session, you will be asked to answer a number of questions on computer. The main focus will be on how you canuse maths in everyday situations. You may also answer some questions on science and reading. It is unlikely that the person sitting next to you during the study will have the same questions as you, as different pupils receive different combinations of questions. You will also be given a questionnaire about yourself and your attitudes and experiences in school. Some questions will ask you about their experiences of remote learning during the Covid-19 pandemic. If there are any questions you do not want to answer, you can leave them blank.

No-one will see your answers except the researchers involved in the study and these will remain confidential, all responses will be anonymous. The aim is to get an overall picture of pupils in Scotland. No names or information which can be used to identify you or your school will be shared the OECD, or included in any reports.

There is no need for any special preparation, revision or studying. In total, it will take about 3 hours with a break in the middle. In recognition of your participation, you will receive a PISA 2022 certificate.

The results of the study will be published in December 2024.

For examples of PISA questions, please visit our Sample Questions page.

How will NFER look after my data?

NFER takes data protection very seriously and complies with the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018. Any personal information (such as your name, age and gender) will be held securely and no individual pupil, teacher or school will be identifiable in any national or international reports. NFER will not share your individual answers to any questions or results showing your name, with your school. You can read the PISA 2022 Privacy Notice for further details about the information we will collect, how we will use it, and your rights to ask us to stop using your personal information.

How will PISA affect my school work?

Taking part in PISA will help develop your skills. It will support the work that you are doing towards your exams and give you extra practice answering computer-based questions. Taking part in PISA has no effect on your grades.

Who is carrying out the study?

PISA 2022 is being delivered in Scotland by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) on behalf of the Scottish Government.

What can we learn from earlier PISA studies?

A series of thematic reports, national reports and briefing papers based on the results of previous cycles of PISA can be found on our PISA research page.


[1] PISA mainly takes place in schools, but a small number of pupils in some FE Colleges may also be invited to take part.