Sunday, December 12, 2010

Dubai Beats Israel in Math & Science

Korea and Finland top OECD’s latest PISA survey of education performance

07/12/2010 - Korea and Finland top the OECD’s latest PISA survey of reading literacy among 15-year olds, which for the first time tested students’ ability to manage digital information.

The survey, based on two-hour tests of a half million students in more than 70 economies, also tested mathematics and science. The results for 65 economies are being released today.

The next strongest performances were from Hong Kong-China, Singapore, Canada, New Zealand and Japan.

The province of Shanghai, China, took part for the first time and scored higher in reading than any country. It also topped the table in maths and science. More than one-quarter of Shanghai’s 15-year-olds demonstrated advanced mathematical thinking skills to solve complex problems, compared to an OECD average of just 3%.

“Better educational outcomes are a strong predictor for future economic growth,” said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría. “While national income and educational achievement are still related, PISA shows that two countries with similar levels of prosperity can produce very different results. This shows that an image of a world divided neatly into rich and well-educated countries and poor and badly-educated countries is now out of date.”

Reading Math Science

Qatar 372 10 368 10 379 10
Jordan 405 8 387 8 415 8
Tunisia 404 9 371 9 401 9
Turkey 464 6 445 7 454 7
Dubai (UAE) 459 7 453 5 466 5
Israel 474 5 447 6 455 6
UK 494 4 492 3 514 2
USA 500 1 487 4 502 3
Germany 497 2 513 1 520 1
France 496 3 497 2 498 4
OECD avg 493

The OECD studied differing results between girls and boys, as well as the influence of class size, teacher pay and the degree of autonomy schools have in allocating resources. Findings include:

Girls read better than boys in every country, by an average of 39 points, the equivalent to one year of schooling. The gender gap has not improved in any country since 2000, and widened in France, Israel, Korea, Portugal and Sweden. This is mirrored in a decline of boy’s enjoyment of reading and their engagement with reading in their leisure time.

The best school systems were the most equitable - students do well regardless of their socio-economic background. But schools that select students based on ability early show the greatest differences in performance by socio-economic background.

High performing school systems tend to prioritise teacher pay over smaller class sizes.

Countries where students repeat grades more often tend to have worse results overall, with the widest gaps between children from poor and better-off families. Making students repeat years is most common in Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Portugal and Spain.

High performing systems allow schools to design curricula and establish assessment policies but don’t necessarily allow competition for students.

Schools with good discipline and better student-teacher relations achieve better reading results.

Public and private schools achieve similar results, after taking account of their home backgrounds.

Combining local autonomy and effective accountability seems to produce the best results.

The percentage of students who said they read for pleasure dropped from 69% in 2000 to 64% in 2009.


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