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  • Book
  • Open Access
  • © 2021

Improving a Country’s Education

PISA 2018 Results in 10 Countries

  • Offers a concise and simple explanation of what PISA is

  • Discusses what countries can do to improve their education systems

  • Provides informed explanations of the major causes of educational improvements and declines

  • Is an open access book

Buying options

Hardcover Book USD 59.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)

Table of contents (13 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-xiv
  2. Australia: PISA Australia—Excellence and Equity?

    • Sue Thomson
    Pages 25-47Open Access
  3. England: England and PISA—The Long View

    • Tim Oates
    Pages 83-99Open Access
  4. Estonia: A Positive PISA Experience

    • Gunda Tire
    Pages 101-120Open Access
  5. Portugal: The PISA Effects on Education

    • João Marôco
    Pages 159-174Open Access
  6. Taiwan: Performance in the Programme for International Student Assessment

    • Su-Wei Lin, Huey-Ing Tzou, I-Chung Lu, Pi-Hsia Hung
    Pages 203-226Open Access
  7. United States: The Uphill Schools’ Struggle

    • Eric A. Hanushek
    Pages 227-247Open Access
  8. Assessment Background: What PISA Measures and How

    • Luisa Araújo, Patrícia Costa, Nuno Crato
    Pages 249-263Open Access

About this book

This open access book compares and contrasts the results of international student assessments in ten countries. The OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) released the results of its 2018 assessment in December 2019. This book reflects the debates that typically follow the release of these results and focuses on the causes of differences between countries. Such causes include continuous decline in one country, improvement combined with increasing internal inequalities in another country, or rapid improvement in spite of an outdated curriculum in yet another.

In addition, the book discusses a number of general questions: Is knowledge outdated? Are computers taking over and replacing teachers? Are schools killing creativity? Are we adequately preparing the next generation? Are schools failing to educate our kids? The book starts out with a summary of PISA’s evolution and PISA results, and an explanation of the major factors that play a role in changes in countries’ results. The next ten chapters are devoted to ten specific countries, offering a summary of data and an explanation of the major drives for changes in education results for each one. Each chapter includes a short description of the country’s educational system as well as the impact of PISA and other ILSA studies on the country’s educational policies. The chapters also include a timeline of policy measures and main hallmarks of the country’s educational evolution, discussing the impact of these measures on its PISA results. A final reference chapter explains what PISA is, what it measures and how. While highlighting the 2018 results, the book also takes into consideration previous results, as well as long-term initiatives.

This book gathers the contribution of well-known and respected experts in the field. Specialists such as Eric Hanushek, for the US, Tim Oates, for England, Montse Gomendio, for Spain, Gunda Tire, for Estonia, and all other contributors draw on their vast experience and statistical analysis expertise to draw a set of rich country lessons and recommendations that are invaluable for all of those who care about improving a country’s education system.


  • International Large-Scale Assessment (ILSA)
  • Learning Assessment
  • Program for International Student Assessment
  • PISA
  • Comparative Education
  • Educational Policy
  • Reading Achievement
  • Student Assessment
  • International Education
  • PISA 2018
  • Improve Education
  • Country Raises International Results
  • Countries Changing their International Results
  • Open Access

Editors and Affiliations

  • Mathematics and Statistics, ISEG, University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal

    Nuno Crato

About the editor

Nuno Crato is a Professor of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Lisbon. He was Portuguese Minister of Education from 2011 to 2015. During his tenure, compulsory schooling was extended, dropout rates were cut in half, and Portuguese students achieved the best results ever on PISA and TIMSS.

An active researcher, science writer, and educational essayist, he has received various honours, namely from the European Mathematical Society and the European Commission. 

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Improving a Country’s Education

  • Book Subtitle: PISA 2018 Results in 10 Countries

  • Editors: Nuno Crato

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Springer Cham

  • eBook Packages: Education, Education (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2021

  • License: CC BY

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-030-59030-7

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-030-59033-8

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-030-59031-4

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XIV, 263

  • Number of Illustrations: 19 b/w illustrations, 69 illustrations in colour

  • Topics: Assessment and Testing, International and Comparative Education, Educational Policy and Politics

Buying options

Hardcover Book USD 59.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)