International comparisons using PISA and other large-scale assessment data - online

Organised by

UCL Institute of Education


Professor John Jerrim -


27/05/2021 - 29/07/2021


Online - run by UCL Institute of Education University College London, 20 Bedford Way, London


View in Google Maps  (WC1H 0AL)


Delia Mihoc


This module is an introduction into quantitative methods for comparisons of educational achievement across countries. The module aims to familiarise students with the key OECD databases (e.g. PISA; PIAAC) and describe the statistical methods used to draw robust comparisons across countries.

Each session will be mirrored by a practical workshop seminar where students will put the analytical techniques introduced in the lectures to use. Students will learn how to analyse a large international databases using Stata.

By the end of the course, students should be able to use the OECD databases to conduct robust international comparisons.

Day 1 (27 May 2021)

09:30 – 11:00 Why and how to conduct cross-national comparisons. The basics (live synchronous)

11:00 – 12:30 Computer workshop 1. Students work through worksheet at their own pace

12:30 – 13:30 Lunch

13:30 – 15:00 Sample design in large-scale international assessment. (live synchronous)

15:00 – 16:30 Computer workshop 2. Students work through worksheet at their own pace

Day 2 (29 July 2021)

09:30 – 11:00 Nuts and bolts of international comparisons (live synchronous)

11:00 – 12:30 Computer workshop 3. Students work through worksheet at their own pace

12:30 – 13:30 Lunch

13:30 – 15:00 How PISA/PIRLS/TIMSS/PIAAC test scores are generated (live synchronous)

15:00 – 16:30 Computer workshop 4. Students work through worksheet at their own pace


The course covers:

  • Why drawing comparisons across countries is an interesting and important topic
  • Testing for measurement invariance across countries
  • Item response theory, population modelling and the use of plausible values
  • Testing for statistical significance across countries
  • Understanding and accounting for complex survey designs
  • Effective methods for presenting results from cross-national analyses
  • How to use Stata to produce such comparisons


By the end of the course participants will:

  •  Understand the strengths and limitations of large-scale international assessment data.
  •  Understand key aspects of large-scale international assessment study design, including sampling and test score construction.
  •  Be able to analyse large-scale international assessment data using Stata.


Preparatory Reading

Anders, J., Has, S., Jerrim, J., Shure, N., & Zieger, L. (2021). Is Canada really an education superpower? The impact of non-participation on results from PISA 2015Educational Assessment, Evaluation and Accountability. doi:10.1007/s11092-020-09329-5

Shure, D., Jerrim, J., & Parker, P. (2019). Bullshitters. Who Are They and What Do We Know about Their Lives? (IZA Discussion Papers).

Jerrim, J., Sims, S., & Zieger, L. (2019). Comparing Teachers’ Job Satisfaction across Countries: A Multiple?Pairwise Measurement Invariance ApproachEducational Measurement: Issues and Practice. doi:10.1111/emip.12254

Laura Zieger & John Jerrim & Jake Anders & Nikki Shure, 2020. "Conditioning: How background variables can influence PISA scores," CEPEO Working Paper Series 20-09, Centre for Education Policy and Equalising Opportunities, UCL Institute of Education, revised Apr 2020



Entry (no or almost no prior knowledge)


• £30 per day for students registered at UK/EU University. • £60 per day for staff at UK/EU academic institutions, UK/EU Research Councils researchers, UK/EU public sector staff and staff at UK/EU registered charity organisations and recognised UK/EU research institutions. • £100 per day for all other participants

Website and registration




Cross-Sectional Research, PISA , , , PIAAC , , , TALIS , , , Large-scale international assessments

Related publications and presentations

Cross-Sectional Research

Back to archive...