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.



Students Who Excel

This chapter aims to shed light on the type of students who are top performers in science in PISA. Are they, for example, good all-round students, or do they excel just in science? Are males and females equally represented among the top performers? How well represented are students with an immigrant background or students speaking a language at home different to the language they use at school? Are students from less advantaged socio-economic backgrounds excelling? 


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