PISA 2009: Our 21st century learners at age 15

Publication Details

This report provides a high level picture of New Zealand’s 15-year-old performance in reading literacy (main focus), mathematical literacy and scientific literacy. It compares New Zealand’s results with other top- and high-performing countries. In July and August 2009 4,643 New Zealand 15 year-old students from 163 New Zealand schools took part in PISA 2009.

Author(s): Maree Telford with Steve May [Ministry of Education]

Date Published: December 2010

Summary

Reading literacy (main focus)

  • New Zealand 15-year-old students’ overall reading performance was substantially higher than the average for the 34 OECD countries.
  • Of the 65 countries or economies participating in PISA 2009, only two OECD countries, and two non-OECD partner economies performed better than New Zealand. Four countries were similar and the other 56 countries performed at a significantly lower level.
  • Close to one in six of New Zealand students were top-performing readers.
  • The proportion of New Zealand students with a low level of reading proficiency was similar to that in two high-performing countries, but the other two high-performing and the four top-performing countries showed smaller proportions.
  • Girls outperformed boys in every participating country. Among the top- and high-performing countries, New Zealand had one of the largest differences between girls and boys.
  • There were Asian, Māori, Pākehā/European and Pasifika students who performed at the highest level of reading literacy. While Pākehā/European and Asian students were more likely to be at the higher end, Māori and Pasifika students were over-represented at the lower end.
  • New Zealand students showed particular strength in reading non-continuous texts (such as graphs and tables). They performed well above the average for OECD countries in reading continuous texts (prose).
  • Overall, New Zealand had high performance in the reading competencies accessing and retrieving and integrating and interpreting. New Zealand showed a particular strength in reflecting and evaluating texts.
  • The reading performance of New Zealand students, on average, did not change between 2000 and 2009.

Mathematical literacy (minor focus)

  • New Zealand students’ overall mathematical literacy performance was significantly higher than the average for the OECD countries.
  • Five OECD countries and six non-OECD partner countries or economies performed better than New Zealand, four OECD countries were similar, and the other 49 countries had a significantly lower performance.
  • New Zealand girls and boys achieved a similar mean mathematical literacy performance.
  • New Zealand’s 15-year-olds mean mathematical literacy performance did not change between 2003 and 2009.

Scientific literacy (minor focus)

  • New Zealand students’ overall scientific literacy performance was substantially higher than the average for the OECD countries.
  • Only one OECD country and three non-OECD partner countries or economies achieved a higher mean scientific literacy score than New Zealand. Six OECD countries were similar, and the other 54 countries performed significantly lower.
  • New Zealand girls and boys achieved a similar mean scientific literacy performance.
  • New Zealand’s 15-year-olds mean performance in scientific literacy did not change between 2006 and 2009.

Footnotes

  1. Chile, Estonia, Israel and Slovenia are new OECD member countries.
  2. Terms such as ‘better’, ‘larger’, ‘weaker’ or ‘smaller’ are used when results are statistically significant at the 0.05 level.
  3. Top-performing countries are those with a mean score that was statistically higher than New Zealand. Countries with a mean score that is not statistically different to New Zealand are referred to as high-performing countries.

Contact Us

Education Data Requests
If you have any questions about education data then please contact us at:
Email:      Requests EDK
Phone:    +64 4 463 8065