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PISA in Focus

PISA in Focus is a series of monthly education policy-oriented notes designed to describe a PISA topic in a concise, user-friendly way.

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In which countries and schools do disadvantaged students succeed?

PISA 2015 data show that, on average across OECD countries, as many as three out of four students from the lowest quarter of socio-economic status reach, at best, only the baseline level of proficiency (Level 2) in reading, mathematics or science. While in Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hong Kong (China), Ireland, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Slovenia and Viet Nam, more than 30% of disadvantaged students scored at Level 3 or above in all PISA subjects in 2015, and can thus be considered “academically resilient”.

Students who perform at Level 3 begin to demonstrate the ability to construct the meaning of a text and form a detailed understanding from multiple independent pieces of information when reading. They can work with proportional relationships and engage in basic interpretation and reasoning when solving mathematics problems; and they can handle unfamiliar topics in science. Such skills are the foundations for success and further learning later in life.

PISA data collected over a decade (in 2006, 2009, 2012 and 2015) show that several countries have been able to increase the share of academically resilient students among those in the bottom quarter of socio-economic status.

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