Dear Department for Education,

I should be grateful if you would release the following information:

1 The cost to the taxpayer of entering the 2011 PISA tests.
2 The number of schools in taking part.
3 The geographical spread of the schools.
4 The proportion of private, fee-paying schools.
5 The proportion of academies and non-academies.
6 When the tests took place in the UK and whether this was in the same time frame as other countries. I ask this because there was some discussion last time that UK pupils were allowed a dispensation to take the tests later to avoid a clash with GCSE preparation. This meant the cohort taking the test in the Autumn instead of Spring would have been one year below their international peers when they took the tests. This suggests UK pupils who took the exam in Autumn were younger than their international peers. I wish to seek clarification about this.

Yours faithfully,

J Downs

Department for Education

Dear Mr/Ms Downs

Thank you for your recent enquiry. A reply will be sent to you as soon as possible. For information; the departmental standard for correspondence received is that responses should be sent within 20 working days as you are requesting information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Your correspondence has been allocated reference number 2013/0075396.

Thank you

Department for Education
Ministerial and Public Communications Division
Tel: 0370 000 2288

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Department for Education

Dear J Downs,

Thank you for your email requesting to see the following information:
1  The cost to the taxpayer of entering the 2011 PISA tests.
2  The number of schools in England/UK taking part.
3  The geographical spread of the schools.
4  The proportion of private, fee-paying schools.
5  The proportion of academies and non-academies.
6  When the tests took place in the UK and whether this was in the same
time frame as other countries.

I am handling your request under the Freedom of Information Act which
requires that you receive the information within 20 working days from the
date of your enquiry. I shall therefore  aim to provide you with a
response by the 23 December 2013.

Your correspondence has been allocated the reference number 2013/0075396.
If you need to respond to us, please visit:
[1]www.education.gov.uk/contactus, and quote your reference number.

Yours sincerely,

Conor O'Connor
International Education Division

Department for Education
[2]www.education.gov.uk

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References

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Department for Education

Dear Mr/Ms Downs,
Thank you for your email dated 04 December 2013 about Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).
You requested:

1.         The cost to the taxpayer of entering the 2011 PISA tests.

2.         The number of schools taking part.

3.         The geographical spread of the schools.

4.         The proportion of private, fee-paying schools.

5.         The proportion of academies and non-academies.

6.         When the tests took place in the UK and whether this was in the same time frame as other countries.

 I have dealt with your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000

(“the Act”). In considering your request I have assumed from your reference to PISA that you mean the latest OECD Programme for
International Student Assessment (PISA) which in fact took place in 2012, not 2011.

I have also assumed (except where you specify otherwise) that in all cases you are asking for information for England. I have dealt
with each section of your request below: 

1.            The cost to the taxpayer of entering the 2011 PISA tests?

There are two elements of cost of England's participation in PISA 2012.
        A.        England contributes around £200,000 per year (for the three years of a PISA cycle) to the OECD to support
development and running of the Programme for International Student assessment.
       
        B.            The cost of administering PISA 2012 in England was £575,000. This cost is paid between October 2010 and
December 2014.
 
The cost of administering PISA 2009 in England was £557,000 between August 2007 and December 2010.

2.            The number of schools taking part?
 
In PISA 2012 192 schools in England were selected for the study of which 170 took part.

Information on sampling of schools and pupils in PISA 2012 in England and the UK can be found in appendix A of Achievement of
15-Year-Olds in England: PISA 2012 National Report for England which can be accessed at

[1]https://www.gov.uk/government/publicatio....

3.            The geographical spread of the schools?

In order to provide data which is nationally representative the department’s contractors and the OECD stratify the schools sample
by a number of variables including geographical region.

The geographical breakdown of schools which took part PISA 2012 is:

North – 49

Midlands – 54

South – 46

Greater London – 21

The department does not hold information on geographical breakdown of schools at a lower level.

4.            The proportion of private, fee-paying schools?

‘Independent schools’ is one of the stratification variables as mentioned in the sampling frame at 3 above and hence the following
information is available. The proportion of private, fee paying schools, or “Independent Schools” that took part in PISA 2012 in
England is 7.06% of the total schools number.

5.            The proportion of academies and non-academies?

Academy status is not a stratification variable within England’s sampling frame (as mentioned at 3 above) and so information on the
proportion of academy and non-academy schools in the PISA 2012 sample for England is not held.

6.            When the tests took place in the UK and whether this was in the same time frame as other countries?

Countries were required to carry out the survey during a six-week period between March and August 2012.

England, Wales and Northern Ireland were permitted to test outside this period because of the problems for schools caused by the
overlap with the GCSE preparation and examination period; the survey took place in November-December 2012.

The pupils included in the PISA survey are generally described as ‘15-year-olds’, but there is variation in this definition
depending on the time of testing.
In the case of England, Wales and Northern Ireland the sample consisted of pupils aged from 15 years and two months to 16 years and
two months at the beginning of the testing period.

The information supplied to you continues to be protected by copyright. You are free to use it for your own purposes, including for
private study and non-commercial research, and for any other purpose authorised by an exception in current copyright law. Documents
(except photographs) can be also used in the UK without requiring permission for the purposes of news reporting. Any other
re-use, for example commercial publication, would require the permission of the copyright holder.

Most documents produced by a government department or agency will be protected by Crown Copyright. Most Crown copyright information
can be re-used under the Open Government Licence ([2]http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/o.... For
information about the OGL and about re-using Crown Copyright information please see The National Archives website
-[3]http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/infor... .

Copyright in other documents may rest with a third party. For information about obtaining permission from a third party see the
Intellectual Property Office’s website at [4]www.ipo.gov.uk.

If you are unhappy with the way your request has been handled, you should make a complaint to the Department by writing to me
within two calendar months of the date of this letter.  Your complaint will be considered by an independent review panel, who were
not involved in the original consideration of your request. 

If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint to the Department, you may then contact the Information Commissioner’s
Office. 

Your correspondence has been allocated reference number 2013/0075396. If you need to respond to us, please visit:
[5]www.education.gov.uk/contactus, and quote your reference number.

If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me. Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future
communications.

Yours sincerely,

Conor O'Connor
International Education Division
Conor.O'[email address]
[6]www.education.gov.uk

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