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The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has announced that foreign language skills will be assessed as an optional component of the international PISA evaluation of education systems, beginning in 2025 with a comparison of English language levels in schools worldwide. Tests will be developed by Cambridge Assessment English, a not-for-profit department of the University of Cambridge, under a Partnership with the OECD. Future cycles may include the assessment of other languages.
PISA - the Programme for International Student Assessment is a worldwide study carried out every three years which measures 15-year-old school pupils' performance in key subjects, currently mathematics, science, and reading. PISA is designed to provide data to help countries to improve their education policies and outcomes. By adding the assessment of foreign languages to PISA, the OECD aims to allow countries to monitor progress and identify best practice in the teaching and learning of foreign languages.
Around 600,000 students from randomly selected schools take part in each PISA assessment, making it the world’s largest and most objective comparison of educational outcomes, and the foreign language assessment will provide unprecedented insights into the effectiveness of language teaching and learning worldwide.
Hanan Khalifa, Director of Education Transformation & Impact from Cambridge Assessment English explained: “There have been many attempts to compare language learning around the world, but none of these has provided a properly systematic approach to language education in schools which can help to shape education policies at a national and regional level. As a department of Cambridge University, we share its mission “to contribute to society through the pursuit of education, learning and research at the highest international levels of excellence” and we are delighted to support OECD by offering the expert input of our language assessment specialists and to share the techniques and experience we have developed by assessing the language skills of tens of millions of learners over the years and throughout the world.”
Andreas Schleicher , OECD Director for Education and Skills, said: “In today’s world it is important to be able to communicate in more than one language. Learning other languages is a powerful tool to facilitate global co-operation and intercultural understanding and to discover new and innovative ways of thinking and working. Governments have been placing increased emphasis on foreign language teaching and this new PISA assessment will help them see how they are progressing and how their policies and practices compare with those among the most advanced education systems”.