PISA 2015 Framework

Assessment or survey framework

Science framework

Definition: Scientific literacy is the ability to engage with science-related issues, and with the ideas of science, as a reflective citizen.

Organization of the domain along four dimensions:

  • Contexts – Personal, local, national, and global issues, both current and historical, demanding some understanding of science and technology
  • Knowledge – An understanding of the major facts, concepts, and explanatory theories that form the basis of scientific knowledge, including:
    • Content knowledge
    • Procedural knowledge
    • Epistemic knowledge
  • Competencies – Competence in science lies at the heart of science literacy in PISA 2015, and includes the ability to:
    • Explain phenomena scientifically – recognise, offer and evaluate explanations for a range of natural and technological phenomena;
    • Evaluate and design scientific enquiry – describe and appraise scientific investigations and propose ways of addressing questions scientifically; and
    • Interpret data and evidence scientifically – analyse and evaluate data, claims and arguments in a variety of representations and draw appropriate scientific conclusions.
  • Attitudes – Attitudes towards science as indicated by:
    • An interest in science and technology
    • Valuing scientific approaches to enquiry, where appropriate, and
    • A perception and awareness of environmental issues


Reading framework

Definition: Reading literacy is understanding, using, reflecting on and engaging with written texts, in order to achieve one’s goals, develop one’s knowledge and potential, and participate in society.

Organization of the domain along three dimensions:

  • Situation
    • Explanation:
      • Defines texts and their associated tasks.
      • Refers to the contexts and uses for which the author constructed the text.
    • Includes:
      • Personal
      • Public
      • Educational
      • Occupational
  • Text – the range of material that is read
    • Text display space: fixed (typical of print media) and dynamic (typical of digital media)
    • Text format: continuous, non-continuous, mixed, and multiple
    • Text type: description, narration, exposition, argumentation, instruction, and transaction
  • Aspect – the cognitive approach that determines how a reader engages with a text:
    • Retrieving information
    • Forming a broad understanding
    • Developing an interpretation
    • Reflecting on and evaluating the content of a text; and
    • Reflecting on and evaluating the form of a text.


Mathematics framework

Definition: Mathematical literacy is an individual’s capacity to formulate, employ, and interpret mathematics in a variety of contexts. It includes reasoning mathematically and using mathematical concepts, procedures, facts and tools to describe, explain and predict phenomena. It assists individuals to recognise the role that mathematics plays in the world and to make the well-founded judgments and decisions needed by constructive, engaged and reflective citizens.

Organization of the domain along three dimensions:

  • Mathematical processes
    • Describe:
      • What individuals do to connect the context of the problem with mathematics and thus solve the problem, and
      • The capabilities that underlie such processes.
    • Include:
      • Communication
      • Mathematizing
      • Representation
      • Reasoning and argument
      • Devising strategies for solving problems
      • Using symbolic, formal, and technical language and operations
      • Using mathematical tools
  • The mathematical content targeted for use in the assessment items:
    • Change and relationships
    • Space and shape
    • Quantity
    • Uncertainty and data
  • The contexts in which the assessment items are located
    • Personal
    • Occupational
    • Societal
    • Scientific


Collaborative problem-solving (CPS) framework

Definition: Collaborative problem solving competency is the capacity of an individual to effectively engage in a process whereby two or more agents attempt to solve a problem by sharing the understanding and effort required to come to a solution and pooling their knowledge, skills and efforts to reach that solution.

Organization of the domain:

  • The definition incorporates three core collaborative problem-solving competencies:
    • Establishing and maintaining shared understanding
    • Taking appropriate action to solve a problem
    • Establishing and maintaining team organization
  • These three competencies arise from a combination of collaboration and individual problem-solving processes:
    • Exploring and understanding
    • Representing and formulating
    • Planning and executing
    • Monitoring and reflecting
  • PISA 2015 CPS concentrates on the collaboration skills to a greater extent than the problem solving skills needed to solve the particular problem.


Financial literacy framework

Definition: Financial literacy is knowledge and understanding of financial concepts and risks, and the skills, motivation and confidence to apply such knowledge and understanding in order to make effective decisions across a range of financial contexts, to improve the financial well-being of individuals and society, and to enable participation in economic life.

Organization of the domain along three dimensions:

  • Content – the essential areas of knowledge and understanding:
    • Money and transactions
    • Planning and managing finances
    • Risk and reward
    • The financial landscape
  • Processes – the mental strategies or approaches that are called upon to negotiate financial material:
    • Identifying financial information
    • Analysing information in a financial context
    • Evaluating financial issues
    • Applying financial knowledge and understanding
    • Understanding
  • Contexts – the situations in which financial knowledge, skills and understanding are applied:
    • Education and work
    • Home and family
    • Individual
    • Societal
Contextual or background framework

School input, school context and governance

  • School background information
  • School management
  • Teaching staff
  • Assessment and evaluation
  • Targeted groups
  • School climate
  • Assessment, evaluation, accountability


Class contexts


Student background

  • Gender, grade, socio-economic status, immigrant background, language
  • Parental occupation, education, family wealth
  • Educational pathway


Student-teacher relations


Science-related outcomes

  • Self-related beliefs
  • Motivation to learn science
  • Beliefs about science


Teacher-related measures

  • Science teaching practices
  • Teaching and learning activities
  • Dimensions of teaching quality
  • Teacher qualification and knowledge/beliefs
  • Professional development and collaboration


Parents related measures

  • Views on the student's school
  • Involvement in school-related activities
  • Views on science and the environment