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17 July 2023

WorldSkills contributes to the development of PISA-VET comparative assessment

WorldSkills Experts are working with the OECD to develop a framework to evaluate the effectiveness of a country’s VET programmes.

WorldSkills is collaborating with the OECD to support the development of an international large-scale assessment of Vocational Education and Training (VET) programmes. The project builds on the well-established OECD’s PISA initiative, which has been providing comparative data for decades on the performance of school-level students to help countries drive educational reform.

Countries often struggle to evaluate the success of their VET systems and benchmark them against international best practices because of limited and inconsistent data.

A recent blog post by OECD’s Director for Education and Skills, Andreas Schleicher, and the Head of the Centre for Skills PISA-VET, El Iza Mohamedou, outlines how policymakers need data that covers more than enrolment and labour market outcomes. Countries need to be able to compare their VET systems’ achievement status by country and occupation, identify potential policy action on the basis of other countries’ successes, and compare per student expenditures and outcomes.

Over the next two years of the development phase, the OECD will collaborate with participating countries, organizations, and their experts to refine the focus of the assessment. They will define the targets of the assessments, the competencies to be assessed, and the methodology.

As part of this collaboration, WorldSkills has put forward one or more current or recent Experts for each of the five occupational fields planned to be evaluated:

  • Business and administration
  • Car mechatronics
  • Electrician
  • Healthcare
  • Tourism and hospitality

Furthermore, WorldSkills hopes to provide expertise in designing tests of the feasibility of the international assessment.

“The instrumental reason for WorldSkills being involved in the initiative is that we believe in the validity and potential of our assessment model, which we call ‘performance assessment’,” said Jenny Shackleton.

“The PISA-test for school children is relatively easy to do online, and to provide very accurate data and feedback, because what is being assessed is relatively limited. But if you simply apply the PISA-test model to vocational education and training, what you’re doing is assessing what people know about an occupation but not their practical skills and proficiency. This is where performance assessment comes in.”

While WorldSkills Competitions are a form of international comparative assessment, their focus is to assess young people on the basis of the WorldSkills Occupational Standards.

PISA-VET, instead, aims to assess the quality of national VET systems and programmes currently in place – whether they are work-based or college-based – with the goal of improving the quality and attractiveness of VET. It will look into professional skills, including practice-oriented or technical skills, and employability skills.

At the end of the development phase, the OECD will issue a framework document and a first set of proven and valid assessment instruments that may lead to its pilot phase.

The OECD and WorldSkills have already partnered in multiple projects such as the Youth Voice for the Future of Work report, and the WorldSkills Conference Coalition.