CMEC is committed to encouraging policy-relevant research and prioritizing the dissemination of research results to policy-makers and practitioners. The Assessment Matters! series of policy-oriented research notes are designed to explore education issues in Canada, using results from national and international assessment programs. These research notes use relevant assessment data to answer pressing research questions about education issues in Canada.  

Researchers may access, or request to access, data and other tools from international and pan-Canadian learning assessments. Below are relevant links and information for accessing assessment data.

Pan-Canadian Assessment Program (PCAP)
PCAP data on student achievement and the learning context are available to researchers. Researchers wanting to use PCAP assessment data, including achievement and contextual data, must fill out the PCAP Data Sets: Terms of Availability form and send in all relevant information to

PCAP lab lesson plans
Lab lesson plans are available to support researchers in effectively using PCAP data. These lesson plans may be useful for professors in designing their own courses and syllabi, and for students who wish to learn how PCAP data may be used. The lesson plans were developed by Dr. Man-Wai Chu at the University of Calgary’s Werklund School of Education, and are available for non-commercial use.

Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA)
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) makes PISA data, questionnaires, and research documentation available through their PISA Data webpage. In addition to providing full datasets, the OECD offers web-based analysis and reporting tools, such as the PISA Data Explorer and PISA Education GPS.

Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC)
The OECD makes PIAAC data, questionnaires, and research documentation available through their PIAAC Public data and analysis webpage. In addition to providing full datasets, the OECD offers a web-based PIAAC Data Explorer analysis tool.

Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS), International Computer and Information Literacy Study (ICILS), and Teacher Education and Development Study in Mathematics (TEDS-M)
The International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) allows users to register online to access TIMSS, PIRLS, ICILS and TEDS data, instruments, and tools. The IEA also offers the IDB Analyzer software for download on their Web site. The IEA’s TIMSS & PIRLS Web site also has user guides, instruments, and assessment data available. 

NCES International Data Explorer
The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) International Data Explorer allows users to perform their own Web-based analyses from international studies. The International Data Explorer includes achievement and contextual data from all countries participating in each round of international assessments.