PISA 2006: How ready are our 15-year-olds for tomorrow’s world?
This document provides a summary of the results from New Zealand’s participation in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2006. This assessment involved almost 5,000 New Zealand 15 year-old students, looking at their performance in science literacy (main focus), and reading and mathematics literacy (both minor focus areas). It was administered in New Zealand in July and August 2006.
Author(s): Maree Telford and Robyn Caygill
Date Published: December 2007
New Zealand's 15-year-olds are more ready for tomorrow's world than the majority of their international counterparts.
Scientific literacy (main focus)
- Of the 57 countries participating in PISA 2006, only two countries performed better1 than New Zealand, eight countries were similar, and the other 46 countries were significantly lower.
- New Zealand and Finland achieved the largest proportion of students performing at the highest level of scientific literacy.
- The proportion of students with a low level of scientific proficiency was larger than four high-performing countries, but similar to six other high-performing countries.
- Girls and boys showed similar mean scientific literacy performance, and girls were as likely to achieve the highest level of scientific literacy as boys.
- There were Asian, Māori, Pākehā-European and Pasifika students who performed at the highest level of scientific literacy. However, Pākehā-European and Asian students were more likely to be at the higher end while Māori and Pasifika were over-represented at the lower end.
- Overall New Zealand had high performance in each scientific competency, with particular strengths in identifying scientific issues and using scientific evidence compared to explaining phenomena scientifically.
- Overall New Zealand had high performance in each science content area, with particular strengths in earth and space systems and living systems compared to physical systems.
Reading literacy (minor focus)
- Of the 572 countries participating in PISA 2006, the mean reading literacy performance of only three countries was significantly higher than New Zealand, two countries were similar, and the other 50 countries were significantly lower.
- New Zealand's 15-year-olds' performance in reading literacy showed no significant change between 2000 and 2006.
Mathematical literacy (minor focus)
- Of the 57 countries participating in PISA 2006, the mean mathematical literacy performance of only five countries was significantly higher than New Zealand, seven countries were similar, and the other 44 countries were significantly lower.
- New Zealand's 15-year-olds' performance in mathematical literacy showed no significant change between 2003 and 2006.
- The terms such as 'better', 'larger', 'weaker' or 'smaller' are used when results are statistically significant at the 0.05 level.
- The United States of America reading literacy results are not reported because mean performance in reading could not be accurately estimated due to a printing error in the test booklets. Some of the reading items had incorrect instructions.
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