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PISA trends, social changes, and education reforms

Aloisi, C.; Tymms, P.

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C. Aloisi


The stability of educational test results from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) over 15 years was examined, and the influence of demographics and social capital was assessed, as was the impact of educational reforms. The test results were remarkably stable, with correlations up to 0.99 for country-level results over 2 cycles. Despite this stability, trends were observed with scores generally rising year on year, but so too were the socioeconomic indicators. Together with measures of gender, immigration, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) membership and first language, these variables went a long way to account for the rising scores. Case studies suggest that the clearest impact of reforms on test scores amount to an annual effect size of around 0.02. The paper argues for the greater prominence of fairer adjusted PISA league tables and suggests that multidisciplinary approaches to educational data analyses and policy advice are needed.


Aloisi, C., & Tymms, P. (2017). PISA trends, social changes, and education reforms. Educational Research and Evaluation, 23(5-6), 180-220.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 28, 2018
Online Publication Date Apr 16, 2018
Publication Date Aug 18, 2017
Deposit Date Mar 23, 2018
Publicly Available Date Oct 16, 2019
Journal Educational Research and Evaluation
Print ISSN 1380-3611
Electronic ISSN 1744-4187
Publisher Taylor and Francis Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 23
Issue 5-6
Pages 180-220


Accepted Journal Article (1.5 Mb)

Copyright Statement
This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Educational Research and Evaluation on 16 Apr 2018, available online:

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