A global survey has revealed that teenagers from some of China’s wealthiest regions are outperforming their peers in the world’s richest countries in all three core subjects.
The survey was done by Program International Student Assessment (PISA), a global index of education systems carried out triennial by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
PISA is also designed to allow for education systems in different countries to be compared, and the tests are created to be ‘culturally neutral’.
The exam was first administered in 2000 to evaluate the performance of 15-year-olds in the 35 industrialized countries of the OECD. It has since expanded beyond the 35 member countries. In 2018, 600,000 students from 79 countries took the exam.
The most recent survey revealed that 15-year-old students from Beijing, Shanghai, and the eastern provinces of Jiangsu and Zhejiang ranked top in reading, math, and science, attaining the highest levels in four rankings.
According to the new results from the global education study, students from the United Kingdom scored level three rankings in all three categories while students from the United States were ranked level three for reading and science, and two for math.
China, Singapore and Macau topped the international rankings in the three core areas.
China’s success in the survey is likely to be contested due to the fact that only four of the country’s wealthiest areas were surveyed, not representing the entire students living in other parts of the country, especially rural areas.
Angel Gurria, the secretary-general of the OECD, noted in the latest report’s preface that the performance of the four Chinese regions was impressive, as their income levels were below the OECD average.
He further stressed that the goal of the survey was not to pit countries against each other, but to provide valuable information to educators and lawmakers concerning the strengths and weaknesses of their country’s education system.
US students lagging behind China’s
Teenagers in the United States continue to lag behind their peers in East Asia and Europe in reading, math, and science. The exams revealed by the growing body of evidence a worsening situation in education.
Peggy G. Carr, an associate commissioner of the assessment division at the National Center for Education Statistics, stated the results sent a peculiar message. That the US students need to improve when it comes to how they perform in math relative to their international peers.
Economists have found evidence that the gap in scores between countries reflects a gap in the effort as much as it does a gap in achievement.
Another research found that US students were far more responsive when they were offered money for correct answers than students in Shanghai.
The results suggest US students are intrinsically less motivated to do well on such assessments.
Student’s feelings towards school and their expectations for the future
Students were also surveyed on their feelings towards school and their expectations for the future.
Almost two-thirds of UK pupils said they felt like they belong in school, which is lower than the international average.
Speaking on interest in certain professions, 10.7 percent indicated interest in science and engineering job; 13.1 percent for healthcare and 3.9 percent for ICT, amongst others.