PISA developed from the OECD countries' desire to know how the education system in one OECD compared to that of another. First administered in 2000, PISA measured mathematic, scientific, and reading literacy. The concept of "literacy" differs from mastery of curricula; rather, it emphasizes the application of knowledge in real life.
Administered every three years, PISA has created a sensation in educational circles, among politicians, and even in the general public. The visibility of the OECD as well as PISA has allowed for this.
The three administrations thus far (as I am writing in July, 2009) has shown some countries that consistently perform at the top level of PISA, namely, Finland, Japan, and South Korea.
Finland's consistent top performance has drawn much attention from around the world. What about this country has led to such admirable results in PISA? My doctoral dissertation focused on this question, and tried to uncover the reasons behind Finland's high outcomes in PISA. This blog will convey some of the information I uncovered, hopefully in fewer words than my 400+ page dissertation, and in an interesting manner.