Irish students among 'best at reading' in developed world

Delia Watkins
December 10, 2016

The PISA test measures the capabilities of 15-year-old students in 72 countries (35 OECD) and economies and is published every three years.

Students in Beijing-Shanghai-Jiangsu-Guangdong, as denoted by the OECD in the assessment, scored a median 518 in science in 2015, compared with the 580 that students from Shanghai scored in 2012.

Singapore pupils topped the rankings in the science test with an average score of 556, closely followed by Japan with 538 and Estonia, a newcomer to the top ranking countries with 534.

According to the survey released on Tuesday, Thailand ranked 54th for maths, 57th for reading, and 54th for sciences.

"While spending per student in primary and secondary education increased by nearly 20% since 2006 in OECD countries alone, only 12 of the 72 countries and economies assessed in PISA have seen their science performance improve over this period", say the authors.

Despite those concerns, the 2015 results are higher than the last test in 2012 when B.C. students performed second in reading, third in science and 10th in math. While we have seen a 10 point lift in our maths score, the results for science are disappointing. Out of 73 participating countries, the USA now ranks 40th.

'But as soon as students have to go deeper and answer the more complex part of a problem, they have difficulties'. News stories displayed here appear in our category for General and are licensed via a specific agreement between and The Associated Press, the world's oldest and largest news organization.

"The strong message for me is it endorses our need to focus on science and mathematics as a key challenge", he said.

In addition to economic factors, performance differences by region and by school are also due to disparities in teaching strategies.

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Other East Asian countries also scored highly across most domains, as they have done since PISA was launched 15 year ago.

The data also showed that the world is no longer divided between rich and well-educated nations and poor and badly-educated ones.

Among Japanese students, 61 percent answered that science will be useful in their desired future occupations, up almost 15 percentage points from a survey in 2006, but the figure was still below the average of OECD countries, which was 69 percent.

Most EU states ranked in the top half of the table, but Croatia, Malta, Slovakia, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, and Cyprus fell into the bottom half. "The work that's happened around instruction and assessment, particularly since 2008 when we introduced very strategic supports in our primary education level with coaching, literacy block, we had reader recovery introduced".

However, boys and girls seem to be interested in different areas of science, with boys more interested than girls in physics and chemistry, while girls tend to be more interested in health-related topics.

The U.S. average score was 470, below the worldwide average of 490.

Gender disparities in science, though small, still contribute to boys outperforming girls, the OECD found.

"Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Hong Kong (China) and Macau (China) achieve high levels of performance and equity in education outcomes", the report states.

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