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Mario Piacentini is a senior analyst working in the PISA programme at the OECD. With a passion for data and statistics since high school, he has spent most of his professional life producing new indicators and measurement frameworks. Over the last few years, Mario has dedicated his professional life to the mission of measuring the outcomes of good education beyond reading, mathematics and science, the three traditional domains of large-scale assessments. His motivation for this difficult task is the belief that schools need to do more than just teaching how to read and solve scientific problems. Schools need to help young people learn how to become curious, autonomous, lifelong learners, and how to live together respecting core human values and appreciating cultural differences.


Mario leads the work of PISA on innovative assessments. He is the main author of the assessment frameworks of Global Competence (PISA 2018) and Creative Thinking (PISA 2021). In this position, he coordinates groups of experts that work together on defining complex, transversal competences and design digital tasks that can elicit valid evidence on these competences. He also coordinates research aimed at innovating assessment methodologies and at making a better use of technology in assessment.


Before joining PISA, he worked for the Public Governance Directorate and the Statistics Directorate of the OECD, the University of Geneva, the World Bank and the Swiss Development Cooperation. Mario worked on several expert panels and led international measurement projects on education, gender, migration and entrepreneurship. He authored several peer-reviewed articles and reports, including the first PISA report on the well-being of students. Mario holds a PhD in economics from the University of Geneva.

Keynote Session

Thursday 12 September 2019, 09.10am

Innovative Assessments of Complex Competences in PISA

In the 21st century, the nature of work is continually shifting as computers and telecommunications accelerate their capabilities to accomplish human tasks. In this context, the knowledge and skills that people need to learn and the tools they use for learning are continuously changing. Lifelong learning has become a necessity for everyone, and strong socio-emotional skills are more than ever essential assets for professional and social life. In response to these emerging challenges of learning in the 21st century, educational systems must develop a wider set of metrics in order to assess how well they are preparing students for life. Rethinking the design and scope of assessments may do more than broadening the set of competences that are valued in education. In the long run, it may even change the way in which academic success is defined.


This speech will present current work in PISA to support innovation in assessment, piloting new assessments of complex competences and experimenting with new types of tasks and statistical models. Mario Piacentini will speak about the challenges experienced during the development processes of the PISA 2018 assessment of global competence and of the PISA 2021 assessment of creative thinking. He will also outline a vision for building, through an international collaboration, valid assessment of competences that can be used both for large-scale comparative purposes as in PISA, both for supporting learning in the classroom.

Spotlight Session

Thursday 12 September, 1.30pm

The Well-Being of Students - Insights from PISA

Children spend a considerable amount of time in the classroom: following lessons, socialising with classmates, and interacting with teachers and other staff members. What happens in school is therefore key to the chances students have to enjoy good physical and mental health, to the quality of their social life and development of social skills, and to their aspirations for the future. The presentation will present a insights from PISA analysis of a comprehensive set of well-being indicators that covers both negative outcomes (e.g. anxiety, bullying victimisation) and the positive impulses that promote healthy development (e.g. interest, engagement, motivation to achieve). It also discusses practical ways to promote holistic development through an education approach centered on well-being.

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