15-year-olds in germany are on average better at math and reading than their peers in other industrialized countries. In the fifth worldwide pisa school test, schools in the federal republic once again came out in the middle of the pack.
In mathematics, reading/text comprehension and the natural sciences, they consistently achieved scores above the average. The number of low-performing students also declined. Yet almost 18 percent of adolescents are still only able to solve very simple math problems.
Once again, the clear pisa winners are the schools from the asian regions of shanghai, singapore, hong kong and taipei. 15-year-olds from these countries are two to three years ahead of their german peers in mathematics alone. But swiss and dutch schoolchildren are also among the top ten in the global math performance table.
OECD education director barbara ischinger said at the presentation of the pisa study that german schools were "steadily working their way forward. Ischinger: "it’s time to overcome the term "pisa shock through "pisa progress to replace."The current federal education minister johanna wanka (CDU) emphasized: "germany has not only allowed itself to be shocked, but also awakened by pisa."
In the pisa focus on mathematics, schools in germany scored 514 points this time (2009: 513). They are 20 points above the average of the other participating countries (494) – which corresponds to a learning advantage of half a school year. The same applies to the natural sciences. However, in the discipline of reading/text comprehension, which is so important for further learning, the german lead is only half as great.
Pisa is the world’s biggest school test. It has been organized every three years since 2000 by the organisation for economic co-operation and development (OECD) in paris. Germany’s extremely poor performance, especially in reading and text comprehension, triggered the so-called pisa shock when the test was first published in 2000. The education ministers then introduced numerous school reforms, including uniform educational standards for all 16 federal states.
Boys are on average just under half a school year ahead of girls of the same age in math skills. Compared to earlier pisa tests, the lead of the young has even increased. Girls generally have a more negative attitude toward mathematics. Their confidence in their own abilities is lower, as is their motivation and perseverance in learning.
The pronounced dependence in germany on educational success and social origin has weakened slightly. Nevertheless, on average, upper-class schoolchildren have a mathematics performance advantage of almost one and a half school years over their peers from poor backgrounds.
The situation is similar for schoolchildren with a migrant background: on average, they are almost two years behind their peers of german origin in mathematics.
The association of german chambers of industry and commerce (DIHK) warned against being satisfied with these results. Almost one in two companies complains of poor math skills among school leavers. The union for education and science (GEW) said that the basic problem of social selection remains in german schools.
According to education researcher manfred prenzel, the german increase in performance over the past twelve years has been achieved primarily through improvements in the performance of low-achieving children. 17.7 percent of schoolchildren in germany achieve less than level 2 in math. That is, they can only use simple formulas to solve a task. In 2000, this was still 22 percent. In contrast, the number of math aces remained the same at 17 percent. They are able to think strategically and find models for solving complex tasks.
This time, 510,000 schoolchildren from 65 countries and regions worldwide took part. Around 5000 adolescents were tested in germany.
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