Asian countries outperform the rest of the world in the OECD’s latest PISA survey, which evaluates the knowledge and skills of the world’s 15-year-olds.
The OECD’s PISA 2012 tested more than 510,000 students in 65 countries and economies on maths, reading and science, with the main focus being math. Math proficiency is a strong predictor of positive outcomes for young adults.
Shanghai-China, and Singapore were top in math, with students in Shanghai scoring the equivalent of nearly three years of schooling above most OECD countries. Hong Kong-China, Chinese Taipei, Korea, Macao-China, Japan, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and the Netherlands were also in the group of top-performing countries.
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.
Other key findings include:
Across OECD countries, 8.4% of students are top performers in reading. Shanghai-China has the largest proportion of top performers – 25.1%. More than 15% of students in Hong Kong-China, Japan and Singapore are top performers in reading, as are more than 10% of students in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Finland, France, Ireland, Korea, Liechtenstein, New Zealand, Norway and Chinese Taipei.
Shanghai-China, Hong Kong-China, Singapore, Japan and Finland are the top five performers in science in PISA 2012. Estonia, Korea, Viet Nam, Poland, Canada, Liechtenstein, Germany, Chinese Taipei, the Netherlands, Ireland, Australia, Macao-China, New Zealand, Switzerland, Slovenia, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic and Belgium 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-China (27.2%), Singapore (22.7%), Japan (18.2%), Finland (17.1%) and Hong Kong China (16.7%).
The report, together with country analysis, summaries and data, is available at www.oecd.org/pisa/keyfindings/pisa-2012-results.htm