Pisa Survey, School | PISA: Norwegian students perform worse in mathematics, science and reading

Pisa Survey, School |  PISA: Norwegian students perform worse in mathematics, science and reading

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The results of this year’s PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) tests, which measure the proficiency of 15-year-olds in reading, mathematics and science, will be published on Tuesday.

A recent Program for International Assessment (PISA) survey showed that the skills of 15-year-old Norwegian students have declined sharply in mathematics, science and reading since 2018. The level has never been lower, NTB reports.

The survey looks at whether scores on different subjects for 15-year-olds have changed over time. Nearly 700,000 students in 81 OECD countries participated in the survey.

Norway is among the countries that have come back the most since last time. But results were clearly weaker in many other countries.

Another finding of the survey is that parents’ active involvement in their children’s academic progress has declined steadily since 2018. Here, Norway ranks first among countries where parents themselves initiate a conversation with the school about children’s performance. At the other end of the scale are countries like Kazakhstan and Vietnam where this is common.

  • Never before have Norwegian pupils performed worse on average in mathematics.
  • In reading and science, it is at the same level as it was in 2006, which was then the lowest level measured.
  • Norway is at the same level as the OECD average in reading and mathematics, but lower in science.
  • In the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2022, the OECD average falls, but the decline for Norwegian pupils is larger than in most OECD countries.
  • From 2018 to 2022, the proportion of low-achieving pupils (below proficiency level 2 out of 6) rose from 19 to 31 per cent in mathematics, from 21 to 28 per cent in science, and from 19 to 27 per cent in reading.
  • Overall, there are now 41 per cent of Norwegian pupils who can be described as low achievers in one or more subject areas. (Source: Regjeringen.no)

The relevant Minister of Knowledge

– I am particularly concerned about the significant increase in the number of pupils at the lowest level. We have high ambitions for pupil learning, and this is a development we must reverse, says Education Minister Carrie Nyssa Nordton (AFP).

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– Perhaps the reasons for the decline lie inside and outside school. Therefore, teachers cannot reverse this development alone. Now we need widespread mobilization around school and an effort to get our students learning more, says Nordton, according to a Department of Education press release.

The OECD average figures for 2022 are 472 for mathematics, 476 for reading, and 485 for science. Norway finished with 468, 477 and 478 respectively.

PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) measures the proficiency of 15-year-old students in reading, mathematics and science. The survey also provides information about other conditions at school, for example about pupils’ attitudes towards mathematics and their perceptions of teaching and the school environment.

– Negative shock

The significant decline in math and reading scores indicates a negative shock that affected many countries at the same time. The latest report indicates that the Covid-19 pandemic appears to be a clear factor that may have influenced the results.

Norway has participated in the PISA reading survey since 2000, in the mathematics survey since 2003, and in science since 2006. The scores have never been lower in any of the categories.

At the same time, differences in Norway between the best and weakest students in reading and science are also growing.

Below average in science

Norway is now average among OECD countries in reading and mathematics, while we are below average in science.

The average level of Norwegian students now places us in the following place among the various countries and economic regions that participated in the survey:

* Mathematics: 32nd out of 80

* Science: 32nd out of 80

* Reading: 25th out of 80

Norway finishes behind all other Nordic countries except Iceland in all three categories.

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In mathematics, we are on par with Germany, France, Spain, Hungary, Portugal, Italy, Vietnam, Malta, USA, Slovakia and Croatia, according to the report.

In the field of science, we are on par with Lithuania, Portugal, Croatia, Italy, Turkey and Vietnam.

6,111 15-year-old Norwegian children from 267 different schools participated.

Several at the lowest level

The report shows that the decline in reading and science in Norway actually began in 2015, while mathematics results only decreased between 2018 and 2022.

31% of pupils in Norway are now at the lowest level in mathematics. This ratio is the same as the OECD average.

In reading and science, respectively, 27 and 28% of students in Norway are at the lowest level, which is slightly above the OECD average.

Since 2012, the proportion of students in Norway who scored below the basic skills level (Level 2) has risen by nine percentage points in mathematics, by 11 percentage points in reading, and by seven percentage points in science, the report says.

Norway is one of only eight countries where the gap between the best and worst pupils has increased since the last report in 2018.

The survey also shows that boys are overrepresented among the students who scored the lowest. In addition, the results of immigrant students are much poorer than those of the rest of the population in Norway.

Digital disruptions

In addition to the skills being measured, students answered several questions about their daily school life.

There it turns out that many Norwegian students report a demanding learning environment in mathematics classrooms. About 23% of pupils say they are unable to do well in most or all lessons, which is similar to the average in OECD countries.

31 percent of Norwegian students say they are distracted by digital media, and 25 percent are distracted by other students using digital media. These numbers are roughly on par with the OECD average.

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The report shows that pupils in schools where the use of mobile phones is banned report being less distracted by digital means.


What is a PISA assessment?

  • PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) is an international survey that measures the proficiency of 15-year-old students in reading, mathematics and science.
  • The 15-year-old students also answer questions about, among other things, attitudes and perceptions about the teaching and learning environment at school.
  • The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) is conducted every three years and results are compared across countries and over time. PISA was planned to be conducted in 2021, but the survey was postponed for a year due to the Corona pandemic.
  • In 2022, nearly 690,000 15-year-olds in 81 countries participated. In Norway, nearly 8,500 15-year-olds from 260 schools participated.
  • The three areas of reading, mathematics, and science are included in each application, but they alternate being the main area. When the subject is the main field, there are more academic tasks and more questions related to that subject. Mathematics is the main field in PISA 2022 and that was also in 2003 and 2012.
  • Each student gets two hours to answer a selection of several hundred tasks that make up PISA 2022. They also get 30 minutes to answer a questionnaire that includes questions about their home background, interests, attitudes and what their opinions are about the teaching and learning environment. At the school they attend.
  • The test contains many of the same tasks from time to time, so we can measure changes in performance over time.
  • The OECD has international responsibility for the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA). The Department of Teacher Education and School Research (ILS) at the University of Oslo was commissioned with the practical implementation of the PISA study in Norway.

(Source: Regjeringen.no)

Dalila Awolowo

Dalila Awolowo

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