Posted on September 30, 2011

OECD’s AHELO: a PISA for universities?

Currently, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is busy with preparing the tool which would serve to evaluate student performance at tertiary level, which some have already labeled “PISA for universities.” AHELO, or the Assessment of Higher Education Learning Outcomes will test what higher education students know and can do upon graduation. Same as PISA, AHELO will be designed as a global tool and should provide data on both relevance and quality of higher education though the assessment of teaching and learning.


So far, the AHELO test will look at the generic skills (such as critical thinking, analytical reasoning, problem-solving and written communication), discipline-specific skills (in economics and engineering for the feasibility study) and the contextual information (aiming to link the data to student backgrounds and learning environments).

Currently, the AHELO project is undergoing a feasibility study, i.e. a comprehensive analysis of whether this kind of testing would in effect yield results which would be valid. Sixteen countries across the globe participate in the feasibility study, though none from the Western Balkan region. According to the latest project update (May 2011), the study looks into the practical and scientific feasibility of the project and strives to engage both governments and higher education institutions in the process.


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Project partners

  • University of OsloUniversity of Oslo
  • University of ZagrebUniversity of Zagreb
  • Faculty of Political SciencesFaculty of Political Sciences
  • Centre For Education PolicyCentre For Education Policy
  • Nordic Institute for Studies in Innovation, Research and EducationNordic Institute for Studies in Innovation, Research and Education

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