What is PISA?

PISA is the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment. PISA measures 15-year-olds’ ability to use their reading, mathematics and science knowledge and skills to meet real-life challenges. Since 2000, PISA has involved more than 90 countries and around 3 million students worldwide.

The PISA assessments in 2025 will look at children’s ability to engage with science-related issues, and the ideas of science, as reflective citizens. This includes being able to explain phenomena scientifically, evaluate and design scientific enquiry, and interpret data and evidence scientifically.

“[PISA measures]…what it is important for young people to know, value, and be able to do in situations requiring the use of scientific and technological knowledge”

PISA 2025 Science Framework

Explore the Framework

The Framework is now available to anyone and will help both to create the assessments 15-year-olds around the world will take in 2025, but also influence conversations about how we shape science citizens for the future.

“As part of this process, we’ve had the opportunity to work with some leading experts in the field of science education and we leant on the dynamic and close relationships we have with teachers and authors globally, part of our OUP community who help us develop engaging and impactful educational resources.”

Dave Leach, Global Assessment Director, Oxford University Press

Science capital and identity

The inclusion of the identity construct as a major dimension for the PISA 2025 framework for science education is based on the principle that while scientific knowledge and competencies are important and valuable for young people’s futures, identity outcomes are also crucial for supporting agency and active citizenship in a rapidly changing world.

Science capital is a concept that is used to refer to a person’s science-related resources, such as their science-related understanding, knowledge, attitudes, activities and social contacts.

Research conducted by the Institute of Education at UCL (Professor Louise Archer) found that the more science capital a young person has, the more likely they are to aspire to continue with science post-16 and the more likely they are to have a ‘science identity’, where they see themselves, and are recognised by others, as being a ‘science person’.

According to this research, a lack of interest in science is not the main reason for children not aspiring to further study or a career in science. Instead, a child’s perception that science is ‘not for me’ can be shaped by a combination of factors including whether their science capital is recognised, valued and developed. This perception starts to be formed in the primary years, and experiences at home and at school both play a part.

What is science capital made of?

  • Science literacy (what you know)
  • Science-related attitudes and values (how you think)
  • Out-of-school science behaviours (what you do)
  • Science at home (who you know)

“Students whose science capital is supported and recognised are significantly more likely to aspire to and participate in post-16 science and have a ‘science identity’.”

Professor Louise Archer

Education for sustainability


The PISA Framework will measure competencies related to the environmental-related outcomes of students’ science education, defined as ‘Agency in the Anthropocene’.

Agency in the Anthropocene requires understanding that human impacts have already significantly altered Earth’s systems, and they continue to do so. It refers to ways of being and acting within the world that position people as part of (rather than separate from) ecosystems, acknowledging and respecting all species and the interdependence of life.

Based on PISA 2018 results, students in OECD countries reported actively supporting environmental sustainability in their daily lives:

  • 71% reduce the energy consumption at home by turning down the heating or air-conditioning
  • 39% participate in favour of environmental protection

“Education, and schools are essential for preparing youth to deal with these challenges by developing their agency in the Anthropocene era. Scientifically educated citizens and societies understand how to evaluate and judge the credibility of scientific information and expertise to inform their actions – actions that are needed to bring about change both at the local level, where individuals and institutions may be  faced with decisions about practices that affect their own health and food supplies, and at the national level.”

PISA 2025 Science Framework

Expert advice

We worked with experts including Jonathan Osborne, Saul Perlmutter and Louise Archer.

You can hear from some of them in this recording of the launch event for the PISA 2025 Science Framework, held in June 2023.