Sunday, January 01, 2012
PISA 2009 update -- results from India, UAE, and a few other countries
The OECD’s Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) tested an additional 10 countries/regions on the PISA 2009 test. Known as the “PISA 2009+” test countries, they include:
• Costa Rica
• 2 States in India (Himachal Pradesh and Tamil Nadu)
• 1 State in Venezuela (Miranda)
• The United Arab Emirates
Strangely enough you can’t find the report on the OCED website, you need to go to an Australian education website for it.
I was excited to see the update because in previous blog posts that discussed the PISA test I was always curious to see how India would do given the emphasis Indians place on education. Would India score high marks despite its relatively low GDP per capita?
It turns out its marks were -- not so good. Here is a table with some select countries for comparison. The first number is the reading score, followed by mathematics and science:
556 600 575 Shanghai (highest results of all participants)
536 541 554 Finland
520 529 539 Japan
524 527 529 Canada
500 487 502 United States
493 496 501 OCED average
494 492 514 UK
464 445 454 Turkey
431 421 438 UAE
425 419 416 Mexico (lowest scoring OECD country)
414 404 422 Malaysia
413 381 402 Columbia
402 371 383 Indonesia
372 368 379 Qatar
370 365 369 Peru (second lowest of all the countries tested in the original PISA 2009)
337 351 348 India (Tamil Nadu)
317 338 325 India (Himachal Pradesh)
314 331 330 Kyrgyzstan (lowest scoring of all the countries tested in the original PISA 2009)
Ummmm, wow. India scored way lower than I expected. Nearly bottom of the table, except for Kyrgyzstan, and Himachal Pradesh scored lower in science than them.
So what happened? I'm not sure yet. I thought at first maybe it would be the social economic correlation (wealthy Indians would test way higher) but the PISA report notes:
In Himachal Pradesh-India and Tamil Nadu-India the relationship between socioeconomic status and reading performance, as measured by PISA, was very weak. This may be because students in these populations perform very poorly in reading and have low socioeconomic status, as measured by PISA, and therefore the relationship between socioeconomic status and reading cannot be adequately detected using the PISA scales.
Translation: “everyone taking the test in India was poor by our standards so we couldn't measure the difference between rich and poor”. Thanks guys.
The India test results were very different than the results Indian schools in Qatar achieved so for now I'm going on the assumption that overall education in India may still be very poor, only those who can afford to send their children to decent private schools are getting a good education. Any Indian readers please feel free to leave a comment to clarify what happened here.