Asian Countries Top Latest PISA Survey

Asian countries outperform the rest of the world in the latest PISA survey which evaluates the knowledge and skills of 15-year-olds.

Asian Scientist (Dec. 10, 2013) – Asian countries outperform the rest of the world in the latest Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) survey, which evaluates the knowledge and skills of the world’s 15-year-olds.

The PISA 2012 survey, conducted by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), tested more than 510,000 students in 65 countries and economies on maths, reading and science.

The main focus of the survey was on maths as math proficiency is a strong predictor of positive outcomes for young adults. It influences their ability to participate in post-secondary education and their expected future earnings.

Shanghai and Singapore were top in maths, with students in Shanghai scoring the equivalent of nearly three years of schooling above most OECD countries. Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, Macau, and Japan were also in the group of top-performing countries together with Liechtenstein, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

Giving every child the chance to succeed is essential, says the OECD. 23% of students in OECD countries, and 32% overall, failed to master the simplest maths problems. Without these basic skills, they are most likely to leave school early and face a difficult future.

The survey also found that boys perform better than girls in maths, scoring higher in 37 out of the 65 countries and economies. However, girls perform better in reading performance and there was no difference in the performance of boys and girls in science.

Across OECD countries, 8.4% of students are top performers in reading. Shanghai has the largest proportion of top performers – 25.1%. More than 15% of students in Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore are top performers in reading, as are more than 10% of students in Australia, Korea, New Zealand and Taiwan.

The top five performers in science are Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan and Finland while Korea, Vietnam, Taiwan, Australia, Macau and New Zealand score above the OECD average in science. Across OECD countries, 8.4% of students are top performers in science and score at the highest levels. This compares to more than 15% of students in Shanghai (27.2%), Singapore (22.7%), Japan (18.2%) and Hong Kong (16.7%).

The survey reveals several features of the best education systems. Top performers, notably in Asia, place great emphasis on selecting and training teachers, encourage them to work together and prioritise investment in teacher quality, not classroom sizes. They also set clear targets and give teachers autonomy in the classroom to achieve them.

Children whose parents have high expectations also perform better: they tend to try harder, have more confidence in their own ability and are more motivated to learn.

The survey also show that high-performing school systems tend to allocate resources more equitably across socio economically advantaged and disadvantaged schools.

The OECD’s PISA results reveal what is possible in education by showing what students in the highest-performing and most rapidly improving education systems can do.

The findings allow policy makers around the world to gauge the knowledge and skills of students in their own countries in comparison with those in other countries, set policy targets against measurable goals achieved by other education systems, and learn from policies and practices applied elsewhere.

“With high levels of youth unemployment, rising inequality and a pressing need to boost growth in many countries, it’s more urgent than ever that young people learn the skills they need to succeed,” said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría.

“In a global economy, competitiveness and future job prospects will depend on what people can do with what they know. Young people are the future, so every country must do everything it can to improve its education system and the prospects of future generations.”

The report, together with country analysis, summaries and data, is available at: PISA 2012 Survey.


Source: OECD; Photo: Renato Ganoza/Flickr/CC.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.

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