29/11/2007 - Finland once again takes the number one spot in OECD's three-yearly PISA test of the abilities of a sample of 15-year old secondary-school students, followed by Hong Kong (China) and Canada in second and third place, according to advance details of results that will be published in full next week.
The PISA survey, based on tests carried out in 2006 in 57 countries that together account for nearly 90% of world GDP, is the most comprehensive and rigorous international yardstick of secondary-school students' attainments. After focusing in 2000 on reading skills and in 2003 on mathematics, PISA 2006 tested students on how much they knew about science and their ability to use scientific knowledge and understanding to identify and address questions and resolve problems in daily life.
Comparisons between the results of the 2006 tests and those of previous years are not strictly valid, as the nature of the tests varied.; advance details are being made available following the publication by a Spanish magazine of partial leaked figures.
Commenting on the PISA survey, OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría noted that it is a tool to assist governments in their policy choices on education. "In today's competitive global economy, quality education is one of the most valuable assets that a society and an individual can have," he said.
In that context, he added, "PISA is much more than just a ranking. It is about how well individual education systems are equipping their young people for the world of tomorrow. First and foremost, it tells countries where their strengths and weaknesses lie."
For advance details of individual countries' performance in the PISA 2006 survey, see the table below. Full details and analysis will be published by OECD at 10.00 a.m. Paris time on Tuesday 4 December 2007.
See table "Range of rank on the PISA 2006 science scale".
Note to Editors:
PISA is a three-yearly survey of the knowledge and skills of 15-year-olds in OECD member countries and partner countries and economies. The product of collaboration between participating countries through the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), it draws on leading international expertise to develop valid comparisons across countries and cultures.
In 2006, PISA assessed the competencies of 15-year-old students in 57 countries with an extensive two-hour test. More than 400,000 students from 57 countries making up close to 90% of the world economy took part. The focus was on science but the assessment also included reading and mathematics and collected data on student, family and institutional factors that can help to explain differences in performance.
The table summarises the performance of 15-year-olds in science. It shows three main pieces of information:
In addition to ranking the countries according to students' science performance, OECD carries out extensive analysis to explore the reasons for differences between countries, between schools and between students. This analysis will be publicly released on 4 December.
For further background reading, see :
Assessing Scientific, Reading and Mathematical Literacy, A Framework for PISA 2006 :
Sample test questions from the PISA 2006 assessment