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Programme for International Student Assessment 2012 (PISA 2012)

Research Question

PISA aims to measure how well students at age 15 are prepared to meet the challenges of today's knowledge societies and lifelong learning. Thus, the PISA test items are not directly linked to national school curricula but are designed to assess the skills and competences required for the acquisition of knowledge and its application to real-life situations.

In this study, as in the previous PISA surveys, students were tested in the domains of reading literacy, mathematical literacy, scientific literacy and problem solving. In PISA 2012 the focus was on mathematical literacy for the second time since 2003.

In addition to assessing students' competencies, PISA 2012, like its forerunners, gathered information about students' attitudes, their school context, demographic characteristics and students' social, cultural and family background. Furthermore, questionnaires for teachers, school principals and parents were used for the detection of other relevant background characteristics.

Test Language


Test Period


Test Area and International Link

National / International connection by the international sample

Target Persons

Fifteen-year old students at general education schools

Context Persons

Parents and Math-Teachers of the selected students, and  the principals of the selected schools

Population / Sample

Due to the subdivision of the German educational system by educational tracks in the federal states of Germany a multiply stratified sample of the schools was carried out.
Germany used the option of an additional grade-based sample. As a result, in addition to the internationally standard sample of 15-year-old school students drawn from the entire student body of a sample school, a further sample comprising two grade 9 classes per school is available.

Sample Size

n= circa 5,000 students

Survey Procedure and Instruments

Competence tests in mathematics (main focus), German - reading comprehension, natural sciences and problem solving and questionnaires for students, teachers, principals and parents

Link to the Detailed Description of the Study

Persistent Identifier

DOI: 10.5159/IQB_PISA_2012_v1

Data Accessible via Research Data Centre

To the Study Documentation at the FDZ at the IQB:

Information about the using conditions can be found here:


Monika Lacher
FDZ Secretary
Phone: +49 30 / 20 93 - 465 52
Email: fdz[at]

Related Data

Programme for International Student Assessment 2000 (PISA 2000)
Programme for International Student Assessment 2003 (PISA 2003)
PISA-I-Plus 2003, 2004 (link)
Programme for International Student Assessment 2006 (PISA 2006)
Programme for International Student Assessment 2009 (PISA 2009)
National Assessment Study in Mathematics and Science 2012 (IQB-LV 2012)

Research Area(s)