Equally prepared for life?

How 15-year-old boys and girls perform in school

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This report explores the educational performance and attitudes of males and females during childhood and adolescence. It opens with a general summary of gender differences measured outside of the PISA assessment programme and then considers the knowledge gained about gender-related issues from PISA 2000, PISA 2003 and PISA 2006 when reading, mathematics and science respectively were the major domains of assessment. Among the key findings: in reading in PISA 2000, females significantly outscored males in all countries; in mathematics in PISA 2003, males outscored females somewhat; in the combined science scale in PISA 2006, there was no overall significant difference observed between males and females. However, when examining the various science competencies, knowledge components and attitudes to science, there were some marked differences.


Appendix A

Background of PISA

Decisions about the scope and nature of the assessments and the background information to be collected are made by leading experts in participating countries, with the overall project being steered jointly by governments on the basis of shared, policy-driven interests. The frameworks for assessing scientific, reading and mathematical literacy in 2006 are described in full in Assessing Scientific, Reading and Mathematical Literacy: A Framework for PISA 2006 (OECD, 2006a). Substantial efforts and resources are devoted to achieving cultural and linguistic breadth and balance in the assessment materials. Stringent quality assurance mechanisms are applied in translation, sampling and data collection. As a consequence, the results of PISA have a high degree of validity and reliability.

Although PISA was originally created by the governments of OECD countries, 27 partner countries and economies participated in PISA 2006 in addition to the 30 OECD countries, making a total of 57 participating countries.


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