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Preparing for PISA Foreign Language Assessment with case study results

PISA will test foreign language skills from 2025. In the meantime, the OECD has been exploring how 15-year-olds learn English.
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In 2025, the OECD PISA study will include an optional Foreign Language Assessment with European Commission cooperation and co-financing that will generate international comparable data on English proficiency among pupils. This is a voluntary module in which 16 EU Member States will participate. The first edition will focus on English, as it is studied by over 98% of European youth in lower secondary as foreign language.

To support the analysis of the 2025 data, in 2023, the OECD (with European Commission co-financing) conducted case studiesexploring how 15-year-olds learn English in Finland, Greece, Israel, The Netherlands and Portugal. The results were presented in a webinar on 20 February.  


The report’s conclusions included the following observations:

  • Young people are very exposed to English – not only at school but also through television, computers and mobile phone screens – from an increasingly early age.
  • Pupils and educators perceive this greater engagement with English to have a direct and indirect positive impact on language proficiency. It is seen as expanding vocabulary, supporting comprehension, and increasing motivation. However, some teachers warn that pupils may overestimate their proficiency and underestimate their need to study. Pupils’ engagement with English outside school is not equal due to geographical, cultural and socio-economic differences.
  • Digital technologies can make English lessons more engaging and facilitate classroom management. Wider research indicates that artificial intelligence (AI) could support teachers in responding to individual needs and in facilitating collaboration between learners. Nevertheless, technology has not yet had a transformative impact on foreign language teaching and learning.
  • Pupils, English teachers and school leaders want young people to have more authentic opportunities to speak English. Some schools have committed to providing international exchanges. This is resource-intensive, but the Erasmus+ programme helps schools to carry out these activities.


Further reading

Additional information

  • Education type:
    School Education
  • Target audience:
    Student Teacher
    Head Teacher / Principal
    Pedagogical Adviser
    Teacher Educator
    Government staff / policy maker
  • Target audience ISCED:
    Upper secondary education (ISCED 3)