Since 2000, the OECD has conducted a PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) study every three years. The study is conducted in most of the OECD's member countries, including Germany. The goal is to evaluate the performance of fifteen-year-old students in reading, mathematics, and the natural sciences. Although students from the federal states in southern Germany scored slightly better than average on the first PISA test in 2000, the weak performance of German students as a whole shocked the country and sparked renewed demands for comprehensive education reform.
The photo shows Frederic, an elementary school student in Düsseldorf-Lörick, drawing the leaning tower of Pisa on a chalkboard in June 2002 – a time when the PISA results were a hot topic throughout all of Germany. Photo: Achim Scheidemann.