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PISA 2009 Results: What Students Know and Can Do

Student Performance in Reading, Mathematics and Science (Volume I)

image of PISA 2009 Results: What Students Know and Can Do

This first volume of PISA 2009 survey results provides comparable data on 15-year-olds' performance on reading, mathematics and science across 65 countries. The volume opens with an introduction explaining what PISA is and how PISA 2009 is different from previous PISA surveys.  The introduction also explains what PISA 2009 measures and how.  A reader's guide provides information needed to interpret the data. Chapter 2 provides a summary of the findings related to performance in reading, the focus of the 2009 survey. Chapter 3 provides a summary of the findings related to performance in mathematics and science. A final chapter explores policy implications in five areas: low performance, pursuing excellence, strengths and weaknesses in different kinds of reading, student performance in math and science, and the potential to improve performance across the world. Annexes provide detailed statistical data and technical information.

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Policy Implications

The results of PISA 2009 show wide differences between countries in the knowledge and skills of 15-year-olds in reading literacy. The equivalent of an average of six years of schooling, 242 score points, separates the highest and lowest average performances of the countries that took part in the PISA 2009 reading assessment. Differences between countries, however, represent only a fraction of overall variation in student performance. The difference in reading performances within countries is generally even greater, with often over 300 point separating the highest and lowest performers in a country. Addressing the educational needs of such diverse populations and narrowing the observed gaps in student performance remains a formidable challenge for all countries.

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