Are today’s students prepared for the knowledge economy of the 21st century?
The OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), evaluates the quality, equity and efficiency of school systems in some 70 countries that, together, make up 90% of the world economy. By testing between 4 500 and 10 000 15-year-old students in each country, OECD PISA provides an internationally standardised assessment and has become a powerful tool for countries wanting to improve their education systems. Four assessments have been carried out since 2000.
The education systems that have been able to secure strong and equitable learning outcomes, and to mobilise rapid improvements, show others what it is possible to achieve. Naturally, income levels influence educational success, but this only explains 6% of the differences in average student performance. The other 94% reflect the potential for public policy to make a difference.
Finland came out on top in the overall results from the latest survey–conducted in 2009 and released this month– thanks to a very strong performance in science. Korea, which came in second, actually outperformed Finland in the other two subjects, mathematics and science. Germany improved its standing since 2006, moving up three places to 12th. France came in 20th, also moving up three places, with the US trailing at number 22. Italy was the lowest G7 country, placing 29th despite an improvement of two places relative to its standing in 2006.
Korea and Finland again top the list of OECD countries in the survey or reading literacy. The score of the lowest performing OECD country, Mexico, shows that the gap between the highest and lowest performing OECD countries is more than the equivalent of two school years.
|Students performance in OECD countries|
|Results of the PISA 2009 survey|
|Reading||Mathematics||Science||Overal ranking||Evolution compared to 2006 survey|