Top of the Class

High Performers in Science in PISA 2006

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The rapidly growing demand for highly skilled workers has led to a global competition for talent. While basic competencies are important for the absorption of new technologies, high-level skills are critical for the creation of new knowledge, technologies and innovation. The OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) has taken an innovative approach to examining educational excellence, by directly assessing students’ knowledge, skills and attitudes and exploring how these relate to the characteristics of individual students, schools and education systems. Based on PISA survey results, this report examines who the highest performing students are, what the characteristics of the schools they attend are, to what extent they engage in science related activities outside of school, what their motivations and attitudes towards science are, and what their career intentions are.



Executive Summary

This report looks at top-performing students in the PISA 2006 science assessment, their attitudes and motivations, and the schools in which they are enrolled. Top-performers are defined as those 15-year-old students who are proficient at Levels 5 and 6 on the PISA 2006 science scale as compared with strong performers (proficient at Level 4), moderate performers (proficient at Levels 2 and 3), and those who are at risk of being left behind (proficient at Level 1 or below). 


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