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The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is a highly influential instrument for monitoring the quality of education systems and provides a strong evidence base for informed policy making and education research. PISA also has a proven potential to trigger reforms and stimulate stakeholder involvement in the process.

Notwithstanding the importance of its ranking, the full strength of PISA unfolds when data it delivers is utilised in the national policy domain. Linking PISA outcomes and policy choices, and monitoring the impact on education quality is thereby a demanding task, which requires sound analytical capacity, and also knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of the respective education system. The OECD Directorate for Education addresses the demand of non-member economies for policy support in understanding and analysing PISA data in the broader context of education system management and policy formulation.

This report explains the reasons for the dramatically low performance of Kyrgyz students in the 2006 PISA survey, despite significant resources and efforts invested in education by schools, parents and government. The report reveals that a number of policy areas are in need of urgent attention and recommends ways to close the currently existing gap between aspirations and education reform achievement.

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