ACT students score well despite declining results nationally

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WHILE there’s been a long-term decline in students test results nationally, Canberra school students have seen an improvement since 2015 and continue to perform above the OECD average, according to data released by the OECD’s 2018 Programme for International School Assessment (PISA).

The PISA test, which is taken by 15-year-old students in almost 80 countries or economies around the world, measures competence in three core domains; reading, scientific and mathematical literacy.

Of the 14,273 Australian students who participate in the 2018 PISA test, 843 students were from ACT public, Catholic and independent schools.

“While national and ACT results show a slow long-term decline since the test began in 2000, the 2018 results show a small improvement for ACT students from 2015,” says Education Minister Yvette Berry.

“In reading literacy, ACT students achieved an average of 535 points, which was significantly higher than the 2015 ACT result of 516 points, the Australian average of 503 points, and the OECD average of 487 points.”

More specifically, 21 per cent of ACT students were high performers in reading literacy, 13 per cent of ACT students were low performers, and 70 per cent of ACT students attained the national proficient standard in reading literacy.

“In mathematics, ACT students achieved a score of 515 points, which was significantly higher than the Australian mean of 491 points, and the OECD average of 489 points,” Ms Berry says.

Of all the students in the ACT who tested for mathematics, 15 per cent were higher performers, higher than all other jurisdictions and the average of OECD average, 15 per cent were also low performers, the lowest proportion of any jurisdiction, and 66 per cent of ACT attained the national proficient standard in mathematical literacy.

“Nationally, a significant gender gap favouring males in mathematical literacy performance has returned. However, in the ACT girls have improved their mean scores by 14 points from 2015 achieving a mean score of 516 points compared with 514 points for ACT boys in mathematical literacy,” Ms Berry says.

“[In science literacy] ACT students achieved an average score of 533 points, which was significantly higher than the Australian score of 503 points and the OECD average of 489 points. In the ACT, girls have improved by 14 points in science literacy and are now 12 points in front of ACT boys.”

Science literacy had the highest national proficient standard, at 71 per cent, which was the highest of all Australian jurisdictions. Fifteen per cent of ACT students were high performers and 11 per cent of ACT students in the ACT were low performers.

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