NZ schools’ per­for­mance lifts glob­ally

Central Leader - - WHAT’S ON - LAURA DOONEY

Kiwi stu­dents have im­proved their rank­ing in maths, sci­ence and read­ing on an in­ter­na­tional scale, but have failed to im­prove their av­er­age scores across those three sub­jects.

New Zealand has gone from 18th to 12th in sci­ence, from 23rd to 21st in math­e­mat­ics, and from 13th to 10th in read­ing, ac­cord­ing to a re­port re­leased by the Or­gan­i­sa­tion for Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion and De­vel­op­ment (OECD) on Tues­day night.

About 4500 New Zealand 15-year-olds from 183 schools sat the 2015 Pro­gramme for In­ter­na­tional Stu­dent As­sess­ment (Pisa) test, which is done ev­ery three years.

Fig­ures also showed that, across all rank­ings, New Zealand’s av­er­age scores had gone down since 2012.

Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Hekia Parata cel­e­brated the re­sults. ‘‘We can al­ways im­prove, but what is very good about 2015 is we have ar­rested the fall, and have sta­bilised and con­sol­i­dated,’’ she said.

‘‘We are com­fort­ably in the top half of OECD, we’re in the top 10 out of 70 [coun­tries] for read­ing, 12th for sci­ence and we’ve made very small progress in maths, but even so, at 21, we’re very com­fort­ably in the top half.

‘‘There is still a lot of work to be done, but these re­sults tell me we are do­ing the right things.’’

New Zealand’s rise in the rank­ings was largely be­cause coun­tries pre­vi­ously ranked above it de­clined, Craig Jones, deputy sec­re­tary for ev­i­dence, data and knowl­edge said.

Labour ed­u­ca­tion spokesman Chris Hip­kins said the fig­ures showed stu­dent per­for­mance was drop­ping across all three sub­ject ar­eas.

‘‘The big­gest drop was be­tween 2009 and 2012, but it’s con­tin­ued to de­cline.’’

The av­er­age score for New Zealand kids had gone from 516 to 513 in sci­ence, from 512 to 509 in read­ing, and from 500 to 495 in maths be­tween 2012 and 2015.

He said the rank­ings were nonsense, and ul­ti­mately a way to look at how other coun­tries were do­ing.

‘‘We are pri­mar­ily com­pet­ing against our­selves. What it shows is we are get­ting worse year on year ... there isn’t any­thing pos­i­tive in these num­bers.’’

Half a mil­lion 15-year-olds in 72 coun­tries, made up of 35 OECD coun­tries and 37 part­ner coun­tries and economies, sat the Pisa test in 2015.

BRUCE MERCER/FAIR­FAX NZ

Min­is­ter Hekia Parata says New Zealand ed­u­ca­tion has sta­bilised, but more still needs to be done.

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