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


13/12/2023 - 14/12/2023

Organised by:

University College London


Professor John Jerrim


Intermediate (some prior knowledge)


Short Course Coordinator

video conference logo

Venue: Online


Course overview

This two-day online 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.


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.


Course structure

Day 1

  • 10:30 – 12:00 Why and how to conduct cross-national comparisons. The basics (live synchronous)
  • 12:00 – 13:30 Computer workshop 1. Students work through worksheet at their own pace
  • 13:30 – 14:30 Lunch
  • 14:30 – 16:00 Sample design in large-scale international assessment. (live synchronous)
  • 16:00 – 17:30 Computer workshop 2. Students work through worksheet at their own pace

Day 2

  • 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 break
  • 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.


Course requirements

Participants will receive written course notes by email prior and after the course.

They will need access to a copy of Stata or they might try to do the course in R instead.

Course materials will be provided for download – either from moodle or my the course leader's personal website.


Preparatory Reading including online resources

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.


The fee per teaching day is: • £30 per day for students • £60 per day for staff working for academic institutions, Research Councils and other recognised research institutions, registered charity organisations and the public sector • £100 per day for all other participants In the event of cancellation by the delegate a full refund of the course fee is available up to two weeks prior to the course. NO refunds are available after this date. If it is no longer possible to run a course due to circumstances beyond its control, NCRM reserves the right to cancel the course at its sole discretion at any time prior to the event. In this event every effort will be made to reschedule the course. If this is not possible or the new date is inconvenient a full refund of the course fee will be given. NCRM shall not be liable for any costs, losses or expenses that may be incurred as a result of its cancellation of a course, including but not limited to any travel or accommodation costs. The University of Southampton’s Online Store T&Cs also continue to apply.

Website and registration:




Comparative and Cross National Research, Cross-national research, Comparative research, R, Stata, PISA, PIAAC, TALIS, Large-scale international assessments, Cross-national comparisons

Related publications and presentations:

Comparative and Cross National Research
Cross-national research
Comparative research

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