PISA: For Students

Around 2,000 young people in 40 schools across Scotland will be asked to take part in the Field Trial, 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.

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 student matters. Your taking part will help Scottish Government improve the education system in Scotland and to find out how best to support students as they prepare for life after school.

If you have been asked to take part it means:

  • You will be asked to spend about 2 hours (with a short break in the middle) answering some questions on a school computer about science, maths and reading. The main focus of these questions will be on your views about science and your science lessons. 
  • You will then be asked to complete a 45-minute questionnaire that asks about your background, attitudes and experiences in school. This questionnaire will also ask for some information on homes and families. Therefore, it would be useful for you to know your parents’ or guardians’ occupations and highest educational qualifications.
  • You do not need to answer any question that you do not feel comfortable with and the Study Administrators will be available to answer any queries you have. 
  • You do not need to do any preparation and your individual results will not be shared with anyone. It will not contribute towards your grades.
The results from the PISA assessment are very important and help to shape education systems across the world.  

You can find out more about PISA:

For examples of PISA questions, please visit our Sample Questions page
It is your participation that makes PISA a success, and we, the Scottish Government and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) are all very grateful to the students who take part.

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 student, 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 2025 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.

What will happen on the day of the PISA Field Trial? 

Study Administrators (like an invigilator) will lead the sessions in schools. When you arrive, you will be asked to turn off mobile phones and sit at a computer. The Study Administrator will then read some instructions and answer any questions.

You will log into the PISA study, read the onscreen introduction and then start answering the maths, reading and science questions. Afterwards, you will complete a questionnaire about your learning and what you think about school. 

We recommend that you bring: 

  • a pen or pencil, in case you want to make notes
  • a calculator
  • a book or magazine, in case you finish early. 

Who is carrying out the study?

PISA 2025 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.