PISA 2006: School context of science achievement: How ready are our 15-year-olds for tomorrow's world? Publications
This report examines the school context in which the science learning of 15-year-old students takes place. The findings presented come from the administration of PISA 2006, where the main subject of interest was science.
Author(s): Robyn Caygill and Saila Sok, Ministry of Education.
Date Published: September 2008
School demographic characteristics
- Students from larger locations, larger schools, or in higher socio-economic schools (as measured by the decile indicator) generally had higher achievement than other students.
School management and decision-making
- Schools in New Zealand have a lot of autonomy with regard to decision-making, with considerable responsibility in relation to staffing, budgeting, instructional matters, and assessment practices relative to other OECD countries.
- Assessment data are used in New Zealand schools for decision-making and evaluation as well as for feedback to parents and students.
- Parents in New Zealand had a lot more choice than those in many other OECD countries when deciding where to send their child.
- Nearly half of all 15-year-old students were in schools where principals felt under pressure from parents to achieve higher academic standards.
- Ability grouping was used regularly within New Zealand schools to provide instruction based on the needs of pupils.
- The most popular admission criterion among New Zealand school is residency in a particular area.
- Students in schools where teacher shortages had higher perceived impact on instruction, as reported by their principal, generally had lower science achievement than those in schools with lower impact. Similarly, students in schools where the impact of resource shortages was perceived to be greater generally had lower science achievement than those in schools with a lower perceived impact.
Science teaching and learning
- Most New Zealand 15-year-olds were enrolled in some form of science education, most commonly in a course for four hours a week or more.
- Interactive teaching activities were most frequently used in science lessons in New Zealand compared with other types of activities.
- Most New Zealand 15-year-old students were enrolled in schools that held activities to promote science, most commonly science competitions as well as excursions and field trips.
Perceptions of school climate
- The vast majority of students in New Zealand felt they fitted in at school and had generally positive feelings about their teachers.
- The majority of parents were satisfied with the quality of the school attended by their children.
- Of the statements listed, principals in New Zealand perceived student absenteeism and teachers not meeting individual students’ needs to be the two greatest potential hindrances to a good school climate.
- Most New Zealand students agreed that schools provide useful preparation for science-related careers.
- Higher-achieving students in the PISA 2006 science assessment were generally those who were studying science, and felt that school was preparing them well for a science-related career.
Where to find out more
If you have any questions about PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) please email: PISA Mailbox