The results of the global Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) rankings for 2018 have been released, and Singapore has slipped to second place in all three categories measured—reading, mathematics and science. Though the powerhouse that is China has risen to take first place across all three subjects, Singapore students maintain a firm hold on some of the highest average scores globally.
Singapore, which held the top spot in the rankings for 2015 (the last time PISA was undertaken), was bumped to second place all around, thanks to China’s monumental rise in all three subjects measured.
Singapore students scored an average of 549 in reading, 569 in mathematics and 551 in science. While Singapore’s reading score is only six behind China’s, its scores in mathematics and science are 22 and 39 points behind.
In last PISA assessment in 2015, China ranked sixth worldwide for mathematics, and it did not even score in the top 10 for reading and science. Singapore, on the other hand, was in first place in 2015.
In the latest rankings, Macau followed China and Singapore to snag the third place spot for all three subjects.
PISA, a programme under the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), measures 15-year-olds’ abilities and knowledge in reading, mathematics and science.
“PISA is not only the world’s most comprehensive and reliable indicator of students’ capabilities, it is also a powerful tool that countries and economies can use to fine-tune their education policies…That is why the OECD produces this triennial report on the state of education around the globe: to share evidence of the best policies and practices, and to offer our timely and targeted support to help countries provide the best education possible for all of their students,” said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría.
Singapore students’ performance
Despite dropping to second place globally, Singapore’s 15-year-olds are still absolute stars. The city-state’s teenagers were found to have significantly outperformed their global counterparts once again in the 2018 assessment.
A total of 6,676 Singaporean students took part in the exam. Singapore’s representatives scored higher than the OECD’s average in reading, mathematics and science.
Singapore’s scores were 549 points for reading, 551 for science, and 569 for mathematics.
Globally, 600,000 students from 79 participating countries and economies participated in the 2018 PISA study.
The results for Singapore also highlighted that the country has a high proportion of top performers—37 percent of Singaporean participants scored high in mathematics, 26 percent in reading, and 21 percent in science.
With the OECD average across the three categories ranging from 7 to 11 percent, Singapore’s students are definitely on the higher end of the spectrum.
Singapore also saw a drop in the proportion of low performers, defined as those who scored below a Level 2 proficiency for the subject.
The results showed that 7 percent of Singapore students scored low in mathematics (third lowest in the world), 9 percent for science (fourth lowest in the world), and 11 percent for English (fourth lowest in the world).
Singapore students’ average went up
Singapore, who first participated with PISA since 2009, saw an increase in their average scores across the three subjects, with the largest improvement in reading.
The Ministry of Education (MOE) said that the improvement in literacy is thanks to a stronger importance placed on the development of critical reading skills in primary and secondary English language courses. /TISG