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Are today’s students prepared for the knowledge economy of the 21st century?

7 December 2010

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
Finland 536 541 554 1
Korea 539 546 538 2
Japan 520 529 539 3 +4
Canada 524 527 529 4 -1
New Zealand 521 519 532 5 -1
Australia 515 514 527 6
Netherlands 508 526 522 6 -1
Switzerland 501 534 517 8
Germany 497 513 520 9 +3
Belgium 506 515 507 10 -1
Iceland 500 507 496 11 +8
Poland 500 495 508 11 +7
Norway 503 498 500 13 +9
United Kingdom 494 492 514 14 +2
Denmark 495 503 499 15 +2
Slovenia 483 501 512 16 -5
France 496 497 498 17 +3
Ireland 496 487 508 17 -7
United States 500 487 502 19 +6
Hungary 494 490 503 20 +1
Sweden 497 494 495 21 -8
Czech Republic 478 493 500 22 -8
Portugal 489 487 493 23 +4
Slovak Republic 477 497 490 24
Austria 470 496 494 25 -11
Italy 486 483 489 26 +2
Spain 481 483 488 27 -1
Luxembourg 472 489 484 28 -5
Greece 483 466 470 29
Israel 474 447 455 30
Turkey 464 445 454 31
Chile 449 421 447 32
Mexico 425 419 416 33

For more information:

OECD PISA 2009 results

9 Responses leave one →
  1. Juri permalink
    December 8, 2010

    Hi guys!
    Why did you leave out Estonia from the list? If I’m correct, Slovenia, Israel and Estonia were invited to join OECD exactly at the same time.

    With best regards,
    J

    • Jerome Cukier permalink
      December 9, 2010

      Although Estonia has been invited to join the OECD, it is not a member country yet, as it has not ratified the OECD Convention.

      • Jerome Cukier permalink
        December 9, 2010

        re-update to that, Estonia is an OECD member country as of today.

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