PISA 2000: Overview of selected New Zealand findings

Publication Details

The Overview focuses on information taken from the full report in areas where teachers and families can respond to students' different learning needs. It also captures what their principals said about the schools they attend.

Author(s): Comparative Education Research Unit, Ministry of Education

Date Published: 2002

This Overview was prepared to accompany the full report: PISA 2000: The New Zealand context.

Executive Summary

In 2000 nearly 3,700 New Zealand 15 year-old secondary students took part in PISA 2000 (Programme for International Student Assessment1), a two-hour assessment to measure their reading, mathematical and scientific literacy (definitions of these literacies for PISA can be found on the back page). This same assessment was given to a sample of 15 year-old students in 31 other participating countries.

In particular, PISA 2000 looks at how well students are being prepared for life beyond school, and whether they are developing the capacity to continue learning throughout their lives.

What we know from the results is that, on the whole, New Zealand students are doing very well, with New Zealand ranking third overall in reading and mathematical literacy, and sixth in scientific literacy. Nevertheless, there is still a considerable number of New Zealand students who have relatively low reading, mathematical and scientific literacy levels.

The PISA study is designed to look at trends in student achievement over time. In order to do this it will be administered every three years in each participating country. Each administration of the study will focus on one area of achievement. In PISA 2000 this was reading literacy and in 2003 it will be mathematical literacy.

Survey facts in New Zealand:

  • over 150 secondary schools took part
  • students were chosen at random
  • there was an equal mix of boys and girls
  • the students who took part in PISA were representative of 15 year-olds in the New Zealand population in terms of their gender and ethnic grouping and in terms of the location and type of school they attended.

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