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PISA 2012 Results - Introduction



Reading Literacy

In PISA 2012, reading literacy is defined as:

Reading literacy is understanding, using, reflecting on and engaging with written texts, in order to achieve one’s goals, to develop one’s knowledge and potential, and to participate in society (OECD 2013, p. 61).

Reading literacy is reported both in terms of proficiency levels and scale scores (reported on a scale of 0–1,000). Exhibit R1 describes the seven reading literacy proficiency levels and their respective cut scores for the paper-based reading literacy assessment. Exhibit CR1 describes the proficiency levels for the computer-based reading literacy assessment. In reporting the computer-based reading assessment, proficiency levels below 1b, level 1b, and level 1a have been collapsed, as have levels 5 and 6, in order to provide descriptive and meaningful proficiency levels.

Exhibit R1. Description of PISA proficiency levels on reading literacy scale: 2012

Proficiency level and lower cut score Task descriptions
Level 6

698
At level 6, tasks typically require the reader to make multiple inferences, comparisons, and contrasts that are both detailed and precise. They require demonstration of a full and detailed understanding of one or more texts and may involve integrating information from more than one text. Tasks may require the reader to deal with unfamiliar ideas, in the presence of prominent competing information, and to generate abstract categories for interpretations. Reflect and evaluate tasks may require the reader to hypothesize about or critically evaluate a complex text on an unfamiliar topic, taking into account multiple criteria or perspectives, and applying sophisticated understandings from beyond the text. A salient condition for access and retrieve tasks at this level is precision of analysis and fine attention to detail that is inconspicuous in the texts.
Level 5

626
At level 5, tasks that involve retrieving information require the reader to locate and organize several pieces of deeply embedded information, inferring which information in the text is relevant. Reflective tasks require critical evaluation or hypothesis, drawing on specialized knowledge. Both interpretative and reflective tasks require a full and detailed understanding of a text whose content or form is unfamiliar. For all aspects of reading, tasks at this level typically involve dealing with concepts that are contrary to expectations.
Level 4

553
At level 4, tasks that involve retrieving information require the reader to locate and organize several pieces of embedded information. Some tasks at this level require interpreting the meaning of nuances of language in a section of text by taking into account the text as a whole. Other interpretative tasks require understanding and applying categories in an unfamiliar context. Reflective tasks at this level require readers to use formal or public knowledge to hypothesize about or critically evaluate a text. Readers must demonstrate an accurate understanding of long or complex texts whose content or form may be unfamiliar.
Level 3

480
At level 3, tasks require the reader to locate, and in some cases recognize the relationship between, several pieces of information that must meet multiple conditions. Interpretative tasks at this level require the reader to integrate several parts of a text in order to identify a main idea, understand a relationship, or construe the meaning of a word or phrase. They need to take into account many features in comparing, contrasting or categorizing. Often the required information is not prominent or there is much competing information; or there are other text obstacles, such as ideas that are contrary to expectation or negatively worded. Reflective tasks at this level may require connections, comparisons, and explanations, or they may require the reader to evaluate a feature of the text. Some reflective tasks require readers to demonstrate a fine understanding of the text in relation to familiar, everyday knowledge. Other tasks do not require detailed text comprehension but require the reader to draw on less common knowledge.
Level 2

407
At level 2, some tasks require the reader to locate one or more pieces of information, which may need to be inferred and may need to meet several conditions. Others require recognizing the main idea in a text, understanding relationships, or construing meaning within a limited part of the text when the information is not prominent and the reader must make low level inferences. Tasks at this level may involve comparisons or contrasts based on a single feature in the text. Typical reflective tasks at this level require readers to make a comparison or several connections between the text and outside knowledge, by drawing on personal experience and attitudes.
Level 1a

335
At level 1a, tasks require the reader to locate one or more independent pieces of explicitly stated information; to recognize the main theme or author’s purpose in a text about a familiar topic, or to make a simple connection between information in the text and common, everyday knowledge. Typically, the required information in the text is prominent and there is little, if any, competing information. The reader is explicitly directed to consider relevant factors in the task and in the text.
Level 1b

262
At level 1b, tasks require the reader to locate a single piece of explicitly stated information in a prominent position in a short, syntactically simple text with a familiar context and text type, such as a narrative or a simple list. The text typically provides support to the reader, such as repetition of information, pictures, or familiar symbols. There is minimal competing information. In tasks requiring interpretation the reader may need to make simple connections between adjacent pieces of information.

NOTE: To reach a particular proficiency level, a student must correctly answer a majority of items at that level. Students were classified into reading literacy levels according to their scores. Cut scores in the exhibit are rounded; exact cut scores are provided in table AA2. Scores are reported on a scale from 0 to 1,000.
SOURCE: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), 2012.


Exhibit CR1. Description of PISA proficiency levels on computer-based reading literacy scale: 2012

Proficiency level and lower cut score Task descriptions
Level 6

669
At level 6, students can conceptualize, generalize, and utilize information based on their investigations and modeling of complex problem situations, and can use their knowledge in relatively non-standard contexts. They can link different information sources and representations and flexibly translate among them. Students at this level are capable of advanced mathematical thinking and reasoning. These students can apply this insight and understanding, along with a mastery of symbolic and formal mathematical operations and relationships, to develop new approaches and strategies for attacking novel situations. Students at this level can reflect on their actions, and can formulate and precisely communicate their actions and reflections regarding their findings, interpretations, arguments and the appropriateness of these to the original situations.
Level 5

607
At level 5, students can develop and work with models for complex situations, identifying constraints and specifying assumptions. They can select, compare, and evaluate appropriate problem-solving strategies for dealing with complex problems related to these models. Students at this level can work strategically using broad, well-developed thinking and reasoning skills, appropriate linked representations, symbolic and formal characterizations, and insight pertaining to these situations. They begin to reflect on their work and can formulate and communicate their interpretations and reasoning.
Level 4

545
At level 4, students can work effectively with explicit models for complex concrete situations that may involve constraints or call for making assumptions. They can select and integrate different representations, including symbolic, linking them directly to aspects of real-world situations. Students at this level can utilize their limited range of skills and can reason with some insight, in straightforward contexts. They can construct and communicate explanations and arguments based on their interpretations, arguments, and actions.
Level 3

482
At level 3, students can execute clearly described procedures, including those that require sequential decisions. Their interpretations are sufficiently sound to be a base for building a simple model or for selecting and applying simple problem-solving strategies. Students at this level can interpret and use representations based on different information sources and reason directly from them. They typically show some ability to handle percentages, fractions and decimal numbers, and to work with proportional relationships. Their solutions reflect that they have engaged in basic interpretation and reasoning.
Level 2

420
At level 2, students can interpret and recognize situations in contexts that require no more than direct inference. They can extract relevant information from a single source and make use of a single representational mode. Students at this level can employ basic algorithms, formulae, procedures, or conventions to solve problems involving whole numbers. They are capable of making literal interpretations of the results.
Level 1

358
At level 1, students can answer questions involving familiar contexts where all relevant information is present and the questions are clearly defined. They are able to identify information and to carry out routine procedures according to direct instructions in explicit situations. They can perform actions that are almost always obvious and follow immediately from the given stimuli.

NOTE: To reach a particular proficiency level, a student must correctly answer a majority of items at that level. Students were classified into reading literacy levels according to their scores. Cut scores in the exhibit are rounded; exact cut scores are provided in table AA2. Proficiency levels 1b and 1a have been omitted from this table, and levels 5 and 6 have been collapsed in order to provide descriptive and meaningful proficiency levels for the computer-based reading assessment. Scores are reported on a scale from 0 to 1,000.
SOURCE: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), 2012.

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National Center for Education Statistics - http://nces.ed.gov
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