Together with the other two UNESCO Institutes for Youth and Social Services, which had been set up in Gauting near Munich and in Cologne respectively, a comparative international study was carried out between 1957 and 1959 on the subject of ‘Leisure’. The aim of the study was to find out the extent to which leisure could help to improve living conditions in changing industrialized societies.
From 1959 to 1961, the Institute conducted the pilot study for the ‘International Evaluation of Educational Achievement’ (IEA), which was sponsored by the U.S. Government. Twelve European countries, including Poland and the then Yugoslavia, took part in the study, which might be likened to the current PISA study. The attainment of 13-year-old pupils was examined in mathematics, geography, reading and non-verbal skills. After the conclusion of the pilot study, the results of which were published in 1962 under the title Educational Achievement of Thirteen-Year-Olds, transnational studies were undertaken on individual subjects. The project subsequently became self-sufficient and still exists.