PISA 2012: series on the learning environment

10 Nov 2014

The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is an international study that is administered on a three-yearly basis. The study assesses how well 15 year-old are prepared to meet the challenges of today’s society. PISA assesses three key areas of knowledge and skills: reading literacy, mathematical literacy and scientific literacy, and has a focus on one these learning areas in each administration.

In the 2012 administration of PISA, over half a million 15-year-olds from 65 countries or economies took part, including all of the OECD member countries.

Vol I

In this report factors relating to opportunities students have to learn different mathematical concepts are brought together to provide a picture of the learning environment and how it relates to maths achievement in the PISA 2012 assessment. First of all, student contact with maths is examined through factors such as time spent learning maths, and whether additional maths classes and extra-curricular maths activities are offered at school. Next, student self-reports of familiarity with 13 mathematical content areas are presented. Finally, information is provided of the relative opportunities that New Zealand students have to learn formal maths problems.

Vol II

In this report the way in which mathematical content is delivered in classrooms is examined. First, some information on maths teaching staff is presented, including teacher qualifications, participation in professional development with a focus on maths, maths teacher-student ratio, and principals’ reports of teacher shortage and how that relates to maths achievement. Secondly, principals’ reports of lack in physical infrastructure and educational resources in their school are examined. Thirdly, principals’ reports of teacher factors that can hinder student learning are presented. Next, students’ reports of teacher-student relationships at school and four teaching practices in maths lessons (cognitive activation, student-orientation, teacher-directed instruction, and formative assessment ) are explored. Finally, this volume examines school principals’ reports of ability grouping practices within and between maths classes.


In this report student behaviour, behaviour demonstrated by 15-year-olds that hinders learning, is put under scrutiny. Students' reports of the disciplinary climate in maths lessons are presented together with principals' reports of student factors that hindered learning at school, and how they relate to maths achievement. Finally student self reported measures of arriving late for school, and skipping class or a day of school are examined.

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