International Comparative Study on PISA Mathematics Achievement Test Based on Cognitive Diagnostic Models

Xiaopeng Wu, Rongxiu Wu, Hua Hua Chang, Qiping Kong, Yi Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As one of the most influential international large-scale educational assessments, the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) provides a valuable platform for the horizontal comparisons and references of international education. The cognitive diagnostic model, a newly generated evaluation theory, can integrate measurement goals into the cognitive process model through cognitive analysis, which provides a better understanding of the mastery of students of fine-grained knowledge points. On the basis of the mathematical measurement framework of PISA 2012, 11 attributes have been formed from three dimensions in this study. Twelve test items with item responses from 24,512 students from 10 countries participated in answering were selected, and the analyses were divided into several steps. First, the relationships between the 11 attributes and the 12 test items were classified to form a Q matrix. Second, the cognitive model of the PISA mathematics test was established. The liner logistic model (LLM) with better model fit was selected as the parameter evaluation model through model comparisons. By analyzing the knowledge states of these countries and the prerequisite relations among the attributes, this study explored the different learning trajectories of students in the content field. The result showed that students from Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Russia shared similar main learning trajectories, while Finland and Japan were consistent with their main learning trajectories. The primary learning trajectories of the United States and China were the same. Furthermore, the learning trajectory for Singapore was the most complicated, as it showed a diverse learning process, whereas the trajectory in the United States and Saudi Arabia was relatively simple. This study concluded the differences of the mastery of students of the 11 cognitive attributes from the three dimensions of content, process, and context across the 10 countries, which provided a reference for further understanding of the PISA test results in other countries and shed some evidence for a deeper understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of mathematics education in various countries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2230
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
StatePublished - Sep 9 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • PISA
  • cognitive diagnosis
  • educational evaluation
  • international comparison
  • mathematics education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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