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Top of the Class - High Performers in Science in PISA 2006
The rapidly growing demand for highly skilled workers has led to a global competition for talent. While basic competencies are important for the absorption of new technologies, high-level skills are critical for the creation of new knowledge, technologies and innovation. For countries near the technology frontier, this implies that the share of highly educated workers in the labour force is an important determinant of economic growth and social development. There is also mounting evidence that individuals with high-level skills generate relatively large externalities in knowledge creation and utilisation, compared to an “average” individual, which in turn suggests that investing in excellence may benefit all. Educating for excellence is thus an important policy goal.
The OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) has taken an innovative approach to examining educational excellence, by directly assessing students’ knowledge, skills and attitudes and exploring how these relate to the characteristics of individual students, schools and education systems. The development of this report was guided by three areas of interest:
– Who are the students who meet the highest performance standards? What types of families and communities do these students come from?
– What are the characteristics of the schools that they are attending? What kinds of instructional experiences are provided to them in science? How often do they engage in science-related activities outside of school?
– What motivations drive them in their study of science? What are their attitudes towards science and what are their intentions regarding science-related careers?
Table of contents
Chapter 1: Excellence in science performance
Chapter 2: Students who excel
Chapter 3: Experiences, attitudes and motivations for excellence
- Appendix A: Data tables
Appendix B: Standard errors, significance tests and subgroup comparisons
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