copy the linklink copied! Annex A9. A note about Spain in PISA 2018

Spain’s data met PISA 2018 Technical Standards. However, some data show implausible response behaviour amongst students. Consequently, at the time of publication of this report, the OECD is unable to assure that international, subnational and trend comparisons of Spain’s results lead to valid conclusions about students’ reading proficiency and, more generally, about the education system in Spain. PISA 2018 reading results for Spain are therefore not published in this report and are not included in OECD average results.

The most visible anomalies in students’ response behaviour in Spain can be summarised as follows:

  • A large number of Spanish students responded to a section of the reading test (the reading-fluency section) in a manner that was obviously not representative of their true reading competency. The assessment is computer based and students’ actions are recorded and tracked. A significant proportion of students (including students who scored at high levels in the remaining sections of the PISA test) rushed through the reading-fluency section, spending less than 25 seconds in total over more than 20 test items.

  • Many of these students gave patterned responses (all yes or all no, etc.).

  • Rapid and patterned responses were not uniformly present in the Spanish sample, but observed predominantly in a small number of schools in some areas of Spain.

The extent and concentration of rapid and patterned responses are unique to Spain, and affect reading performance. Results in the mathematics and science domains appear less affected by anomalous response behaviour, and are therefore published in this report.

The extent and the causes of the anomalies observed are being further investigated to determine if other parts of the reading, science or mathematics test were also affected. The online version of this Annex, available at, provides the most current overview of the results of this investigation.

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