What can students do in reading?
Students who do not attain the PISA baseline proficiency Level 2 in reading lack the essential skills needed to participate effectively and productively in society. A key priority for all countries is to ensure that as many students as possible attain at least Level 2. At the other end of the performance range, countries can gain competitive advantage in the knowledge economy by educating their students to handle complex reading tasks at Levels 5 and 6.
How do countries/economies perform in reading overall?
The mean PISA reading score for each country/economy summarises the performance of students overall. These scores show that reading standards vary greatly among countries and economies in ways that cannot simply be attributed to the countries’ different stages of economic development. A nation’s wealth influences educational success; but GDP per capita now explains only 6% of the differences between countries’ average student performance. The other 94% of diffe-rences reflect the fact that two countries of similar prosperity can produce very different educational results.
How do girls compare to boys in reading skills?
Lower reading proficiency among boys has become a major concern in many education systems. Closing the gender gap will help to improve reading performance overall.
What can students do in mathematics?
Students whose proficiency in mathematics is limited to Level 1a or below can, at best, perform simple mathematical tasks in very familiar contexts. They will find it difficult to think mathematically, limiting their ability to make sense of a complex world. A priority for all countries is to ensure that as many students as possible attain at least the baseline proficiency Level 2. At the other end of the performance range, having a corps of students capable of the complex mathematical thinking required at Levels 5 and 6 will help countries to establish a competitive advantage in the global marketplace.
How do countries/economies perform in mathematics overall?
The mean PISA mathematics score for each country/ economy summarises the performance of students overall. The results show a much wider range of scores in mathematics than in reading among countries and economies. Of the three subjects assessed by PISA, reading, mathematics and science, mathematics is the one where high-performing East Asian countries and economies show the largest advantage over all other countries that participated in PISA 2009.
How do girls compare to boys in mathematics skills?
Mathematics is an important life skill, and the stereotyped notion that girls are "not good at numbers" has often limited girls’ opportunities. But PISA results show that, in some countries, girls perform as well as boys in mathematics. That can be a signal to policy makers that skills in mathematics are not related to gender and that more can be done to raise girls’ level of performance in mathematics.
What can students do in science?
Students whose proficiency in science is limited to Level 1 will find it difficult to participate fully in society at a time when science and technology play a large role in daily life. Those students capable of the advanced scientific thinking required at Levels 5 and 6 could become part of a corps of future innovators who will boost their countries’ technological and innovative capacities in science-related industries.
How do countries/economies perform in science overall?
The mean PISA science score for each country/economy summarises the performance of students overall. The results show that overall science performance varies widely across countries and economies. In a world where science plays an important part in daily life, countries strive to ensure that their populations attain at least a baseline level of proficiency in science. To be able to compete in the global marketplace, countries must also develop a corps of people capable of complex and innovative scientific thinking.
How do girls compare to boys in science?
Reaching a basic understanding of scientific principles is now essential for both boys and girls if they want to participate fully in society. Despite the prevalence of stereotyping to the contrary, PISA results show that being proficient in science is not linked to one gender or the other.
How many students are top performers?
The rapidly growing demand for highly skilled workers has led to a global competition for talent. High-level skills are critical for creating new technologies and innovation. Looking at the top-performing students in reading, mathematics and science allows countries to estimate their future talent pool, and to consider ways of improving it.
Performance in reading since 2000
In the past decade, most countries have substantially increased their investment in education. PISA helps to monitor whether outcomes are improving as a result. In 2009, PISA focused on reading for the first time since the original PISA survey in 2000. This allows for a comparison of how student performance has evolved over the past decade.
Changes in reading scores since 2000
Nearly a decade after the first PISA survey, countries can see not just whether they have raised standards overall, but also whether they have succeeded in raising performance among various groups.
Reading scores among low-performing students
Particularly in countries where only a minority of students is able to read beyond a basic level, improving performance among low achievers contributes significantly to raising the overall standard. In OECD countries, where the great majority of students reaches at least proficiency Level 2, the challenge is to limit the number of students who do not. In some of these countries, immigration and other changes that affect the socio-economic profile of the student population can make the task more difficult.
Reading scores among high-performing students
The 8% of students capable of performing complex reading tasks at Level 5 or 6 will be at the forefront of a competitive, knowledge-based world economy. Some countries have very few students at these levels, and will need to improve the performance of their best students in order to enhance competitive capacity.
Girls' and boys' reading performance since 2000
With boys lagging behind in reading performance, one way to improve overall results is to get boys more interested and engaged in reading. In the short term, this may require paying more attention to the reading preferences of boys who, for example, show relatively strong interest in reading newspapers and reading on line, rather than aiming for a single model of reading engagement. In the long run, tackling the gender gap in reading performance will require the concerted effort of parents, teachers and society at large to change the stereotypical notions of what boys and girls excel in and what they enjoy doing.
Performance in mathematics since 2003
Even countries that show improvements in mathematics performance can still perform below the OECD average, while those that show a decline in performance can continue to outperform others. While changes in mean mathematics scores describe overall trends, these data can mask changes among the lowest- and the highest-achieving students.
Performance in science since 2006
An understanding of science and technology is central to students’ preparedness for life in modern society. It enables them to participate fully in a society in which science and technology play a significant role. PISA results tracked over a period of years show whether school systems are becoming more successful in helping students attain that understanding.
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