Finnish teens score high marks in latest PISA study
The advance results from the 2006 OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) survey came out on Thursday, indicating that Finnish 15-year-old secondary school pupils have once again scored high marks in a comparison of 57 countries. The main focus of PISA 2006 was science literacy.
The triennial PISA survey is an assessment that focuses on 15-year-old schoolchildren’s capabilities in reading, mathematics, and science literacy, as well as in problem-solving. Every period of assessment specialises in one particular skill, but also tests the other academic skills studied.
Finland achieved high scores in the two earlier PISA surveys as well. In 2000 the main focus was reading literacy, and in 2003 mathematics.
In the most recent PISA evaluation, Hong Kong and Canada came in second and third behind the Finnish kids. Apart from Finland, no other Nordic countries were among the top 20 countries, while Estonia took fifth place.
The tests were carried out last year, with a wide spectrum of natural science questions, asking students to apply their knowledge to solve real-life problems.
Participating students and schools were also asked to answer a questionnaire on their background including learning environments, motivation, and time management.
Over 400,000 students took part in the PISA 2006 survey, while the participating countries represent some 90 per cent of the global economy.
Angel Gurría, the Secretary-General of the OECD, says that the PISA survey is not a mere ranking list. It reveals the weak and strong points of the educational system of each participating country, while providing a tool to evaluate the alternatives for their educational system.
"We naturally expected our teens to score well, but we must not take the results for granted. We will have to focus on both basic and special education in order that our schools will be good places to study also in the future", noted Sari Sarkomaa, Finland’s Minister of Education.
Originally the OECD had planned to release the figures only next Tuesday (Dec. 4th), but resolved to go public on the science results after a Spanish publication had already leaked some of the details.
Spain came down the pack in 31st place on the science testing.
Previously in HS International Edition:
PISA Conference visits Finland to learn secrets of scholastic success (15.3.2005)
Finnish youngsters´ high score in mathematics surprises experts (7.12.2004)
OECD study: Finnish teenagers are best readers (5.12.2001)
The OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) (Wikipedia)
PISA 2006 Finland