More than 4,000 students from across private and public schools in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi are taking part in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), a survey which aims to measure how far 15-year old students approaching the end of their schooling education, have acquired knowledge and skills essential for full participation in a knowledge based economy.
Speaking about the three-year global assessment that examines the performance of 15-year old students in key skill areas such as Reading, Mathematics and Science Literacy, Dr. Amal Al Qubaisi, Director-General of Abu Dhabi Education Council's (ADEC), said: "As part of ADEC's commitment to provide quality education to all students equally, students from both the public and private school sector, will participate in PISA 2015, which will help generate accurate and updated information on achievement levels, thus leading to implementing best practices with particular emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)."
The PISA survey will be conducted across 117 schools in both Arabic and English languages. Out of the 117 schools, 68 schools will complete the survey in Arabic and 49 schools in English; approximately 42 students have been randomly selected to take part in the survey from each of those schools.
"ADEC is taking part in the PISA 2015 survey with over 40 different countries across the world, with approximately 4,500 students representing each country. Students are selected from a random sample of public and private schools, with the aim of monitoring progress in meeting key learning objectives. This initiative coincides with ADEC's strategy plan to help cater to socio-economic market needs through graduating a competent and reliable workforce of youth," she added.
The PISA survey helps create a better understanding of the level of motivation among students to learn, as well as their performance and preferences for learning situations in Reading, Mathematics and Scientific Literacy. It also creates a better understanding about a students' attitude towards learning, their beliefs about themselves and their learning strategies.
Speaking about how PISA works, Engineer Hamad Al Dhaheri, the TIMSS and PISA Committee Head, and ADEC's PSQA Executive Director, said: "The assessment is forward thinking, focusing on young people's ability to meet real life challenges and how effectively they can apply their knowledge and skills to different contexts. PISA 2015 focuses on Science, which is great, since it helps us identify strengths and weaknesses in student achievement in that particular subject as well as create deep policy insights through comparisons with other countries."
The survey includes a two hour assessment of students' knowledge and skills in reading literacy, mathematical literacy, scientific literacy and problem solving, as well as background questionnaires that explore students' attitudes to learning and their learning environment.
"Once results are released in December 2016, ADEC will share findings with the all Abu Dhabi schools. The findings will identify areas of success that can be celebrated and also identify areas where improvement are required. School leaders will be invited by the beginning of 2017 to learn more about how the results and recommendations that can help further improve teaching and learning in their schools," explained Engineer Al Dhaheri.
In efforts to familiarise schools with these assessments, over 350 school coordinators, test administrators and ICT coordinators from across PISA 2015 participating schools, will be trained on how to implement the survey two weeks prior to the test.
Participants will be trained on how to fill out forms, how to implement the test, how to secure confidential related paperwork in a safe area, how to make sure the only people present with students on the survey day are test administrators, how to fill out an attendance form, and how to report back to ADEC with all the material filled out.
The first PISA survey will take place in English speaking schools from April 21st to 30th April 2015, followed by Arabic speaking schools, Ministry of Education schools and Asian schools, who will take the test from 18th May to 25th May 2015.
"The fact that the focus in PISA 2015 is on Science, happens to coincide with our recently announced Cycle 3 model which focuses on strengthening exposure towards STEM related subjects, as well as introduces electives that are related to the Science Stream. We are proud of our schools and students for taking part in this nation wide initiative and wish them the best of luck in their education and upcoming future careers," concluded ADEC's Director General.