This report presents the results of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2012 assessment for Australia.

Executive summary

PISA seeks to measure how well young adults at age 15 (and, therefore, near the end of compulsory schooling in most participating education systems) are prepared to use their knowledge and skills in particular areas to meet real-life challenges. PISA’s orientation reflects a change in the goals and objectives of curricula, which increasingly address how well students are able to apply what they learn at school.

This report presents the results of the PISA 2012 assessment for Australia. It presents the results for Australia as a whole, for the Australian jurisdictions and (where relevant) for the other participants in the study, so that Australia’s results can be viewed in an international context.

What does PISA assess?

The primary focus of PISA is on public policy issues related to education provision. Questions guiding the development of PISA are:

»» How well are young adults prepared to meet the challenges of the future? »» What skills do they have that will help them adapt to change in their lives?

»» Are they able to analyse, reason and communicate their arguments and ideas to others?

»» Are some ways of organising schools and school learning more effective than others?

»» What inf luence does the quality of school resources have on student outcomes?

»» What educational structures and practices maximise the opportunities of students from disadvantaged backgrounds?

»» To what extent is student performance dependent on background?

»» How equitable is education provision for students from all backgrounds?

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