PISA Science Education Results Show Singapore, Japan and Estonia Leading

Posted on December 14, 2016  Comments (2)

The most comprehensive comparison of student achievement in math and science around the globe is completed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The 2015 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) focuses on science understanding of 15 year olds (the 2012 report focused on math).

2015 results for the science portion (rank – country – mean score)(I am not listing all countries):

  • 1 – Singapore – 556
  • 2 – Japan – 538
  • 3 – Estonia – 534
  • 4 – Taiwan – 532
  • 5 – Finland – 531
  • 6 – Canada – 528
  • 7 – Vietnam – 525
  • 8 – China – 520*
  • 9 – Korea – 516
  • 13 – Germany – 509
  • 13 – UK – 509
  • 23 – USA – 496
  • 26 – Sweden – 493 (this is also the OECD average)
  • 56 – Mexico – 416
  • 61 – Brazil – 401

* I am merging several distinct Chinese locations reported in the official report.

The 2015 PISA include 72 participating countries and economies. From the PISA report:

On average across OECD countries, 25% of boys and 24% of girls reported that they expect to work in a science-related occupation. But boys and girls tend to think of working in different fields of science: girls envisage themselves as health professionals more than boys do; and in almost all countries, boys see themselves as becoming information and communications technologies (ICT) professionals, scientists or engineers more than girls do.

Related: 2009 results of science education student achievement around the globe2012 results for the science portion (math was the focus in 2012)The Economic Consequences of Investing in Science EducationCountry H-index Ranking for Science Publications

2 Responses to “PISA Science Education Results Show Singapore, Japan and Estonia Leading”

  1. Conrad
    December 24th, 2016 @ 2:19 pm

    I have been following this data for a couple of years and at first I was very concerned. I’m not sure why, but it seems like the U.S. should be near the top.

    But sometimes a test and it’s results don’t actually tell the whole story.

    I guess what I am trying to say is that Singapore has been near the top of this list for many years but they don’t have a single Nobel prize awarded to any of its citizens.

    Japan, second on this list, has 24.

    The United States has 353.

    Obviously this doesn’t tell the whole story either but shouldn’t we look at the end results as opposed to an arbitrary test that may or may not produce the correct data?

    Just a thought.

  2. curiouscat
    December 25th, 2016 @ 1:11 pm

    You do have to consider the data in context.

    There is little question that the USA remains a leader in the extremely advanced science and engineering fields. It takes decades for those changes to work there way into Nobel data. Reports on the “best science research” universities show the USA still doing very well (though one of the measures is Nobel laureates teaching at the school and having learned at the school) so obviously it will reinforce seeing Nobels correlated with the universities at the top.

    The USA is still very strong at the highest level but others are making rapid progress (China etc.). And the USA’s anti-immigration policies are a deterrent to what has been a very successful practice of having many of the the best scientific minds relocate to the USA for their careers from wherever they were born. It will take decades but the percentage of Nobel winners based in the USA will likely decline going forward. Even declining the USA is likely to still be the leading Nobel location in the 2050s. One study showed 30% of those living in the USA when they won a Nobel prize were born in another country.

Leave a Reply