According to the results of the annual report of the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) on the skills of 15-year-old students in the fields of mathematics, natural sciences and reading, Greece ranks 42nd in 2012 from a total of 65 countries, ranking fourth… in the least successful European countries!
The OECD Program for the International Student Assessment (PISA) Study, which in 2012 comprised approx. 510,000 students aged 15-16 years from the 34 member-states of the OECD as well as partners from 31 countries, reports that the EU as a whole lags considerably in mathematics. In the fields of natural sciences and reading comprehension the results are more encouraging.
As for Greek students, their performance level dropped 17 places this year, falling from 25th to 42nd place. The percentage of 15-year-old Greek students with low performance in reading comprehension, mathematics and natural sciences increased vastly during the last three years. The percentage of Greek low-achievers is higher than the EU average in all three skills and particularly in reading.
While Greece, Hungary, Slovakia, Finland and Sweden count more low-achievers, ten EU member-states (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Hungary, Latvia, Austria, Poland and Romania) have made significant progress in reducing this percentage. The Study also reveals that EU member-states performed better than the United States, but both come behind Japan.
The objective of these numbers published by the OECD is to get the percentage of students with low performances in all three skills below 15% by 2020. The OECD analysis emphasizes that policies in order to be more effective, have to focus on improving primary and secondary education. “After the school grades, it is usually too late to compensate for lost school opportunities,” underlines the report.
The same analysis also points out that gender, early childhood education and the socioeconomic status of students are important parameters for their performance.
15-year-old girls perform better on average than boys, while the percentage of low-achieving boys is very rapidly growing.
The percentage of Greek children having difficulty understanding mathematics is more than double among children who have not attended kindergarten or any pre-school education.
Those who come from low-income households are more likely to be low-achievers in mathematics, natural sciences and reading.
In general, the performance of students in Greece has become worse in all three skills during the last three years and has not improved during the last decade. The OECD report also comments on the fact that there is a large gap between performances in native Greek students and immigrant children of first and second generation.
(Edited by Konstantinos Menzel)