Spanish school kids poor marks for maths and science in OECD rankings

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More than 600,000 students in 79 countries and regions took part in last year's Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), including more than 14,000 Australian students in 740 schools.

"Should we be anxious about this?" said Andreas Schleicher, director of education and skills at the OECD.

Other researchers have produced similar results by pinpointing the slackers among the hundreds of thousands of students who took the computerized version of the test, and adjusting the results accordingly. "The 2018 test had used interactive tasks in a simulated web environment which was 'strongly focused on reading in a digital context", it pointed out.

He said the results also moved the country up into the middle one-third countries participating in the global assessment, from being in the bottom one-third in previous cycles. Mean mathematics performance was significantly higher in PISA 2018 than in PISA 2015, but when considering the entire 2003-18 period, mathematics performance appeared to oscillate around a stable mean, with no clear direction of change. 'This is about much more than just "test-taking" - it's about how well we are preparing Australia's students for adult life'.

Students from Kosovo's neighboring countries, Albania, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia all recorded higher average scores in all three subjects, while the average of the three scores was the third lowest amongst all of the countries tested.

Judgment on performance in maths is also on hold pending the 2021 PISA assessment when participating students will have studied the new Junior Cycle maths syllabus. Immigrant students performed on average less well in reading, by around one year of schooling. The OECE average for both is 489 points.

Luxembourg students, meanwhile, scored 483 in mathematics, below the OECD average of 489. Once again Singapore and China led the overall rankings for knowledge and skills rankings.

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"In Latvia, 35% of students reported being bullied at least a few times a month, compared to 23% on average across OECD countries", the report noted. In 2015 they ranked 27th, sixth and 10th in reading, math and science, respectively.

"However, the strength of the relationship between a student's socio-economic status and his or her performance varied greatly across countries and economies".

'We concentrate high performing in kids in one school, and we concentrate low performing disadvantaged kids into other schools and that is a major structural problem'.

Across the assessment domains, there was around three-quarters of a year of schooling difference between students in government schools and students in Catholic schools, around one-and-a-half years of schooling difference between students in government schools and students in independent schools, and nearly one year of schooling difference between students in Catholic schools and students in independent schools.

Reading was at its highest level in 2000 when Scotland scored 526 compared to today's figure of 504 - although that is a rise from the 2015 result which saw it hit its lowest point of 493.

In all countries participating in PISA 2018, female students outperformed male students in reading skills.

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