OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA)

Publication Date



Paper presented at the the Annual Conference of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), Vancouver, 13-17 April 2012.


PISA was administered for the fourth time in 2009. Since in each administration, one of reading, maths or science is chosen as the major domain, the 2009 survey marked the first time that a domain (in this case, reading) was revisited as the major focus of the assessment. This allowed a full review of the framework for reading literacy and the inclusion of new elements to reflect the way that reading has changed since 2000 (OECD, 2009). One such change is the increasing prevalence of digital texts. The assessment of digital reading in the PISA 2009 cycle, undertaken by 19 of the 67 countries and economies administering PISA 2009, represented the first large scale international assessment of digital reading. PISA’s digital reading assessment (DRA) is an assessment of reading in the digital medium, as opposed to a computer-delivered assessment of reading in the print medium. While many of the skills needed to read a digital text are similar to those needed to read a print text, differences between print and electronic environments require readers to develop new skills. The nature, form and blurred boundaries of digital texts mean that readers typically construct their own path within a text – more so than in printed texts, which have a physical order and physical boundaries. Digital texts also offer different opportunities for readers to engage with the text by directly influencing the content: for example by responding to an e-mail message or adding a comment to a blog.