A performance to be proud of

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 04 Dec 2019

PUTRAJAYA: Students, well done! Malaysia has improved its performance in the renowned Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) 2018.

Pisa is administered by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) every three years since 2000 on 15-year-olds in both OECD and non-OECD countries, assessing students on their proficiency in either reading, mathematics or science using questions in the main language of instruction in their respective countries.

Our students did better in mathematics, science and reading literacies compared to when the country first participated in 2009 and 2012.

According to results released by OECD, Malaysia scored 440,438 and 415 in mathematics, science, and reading respectively.

The performance gap of Malaysia’s scores and the OECD average has narrowed for all subjects, said Education director-general Datuk Dr Amin Senin.

“The most notable improvement was in mathematics. The gap last year was only 49 points compared to 92 points in 2009, ” he told reporters following the release of the results at the ministry here yesterday.

Malaysia, he said, was no longer in the bottom third of countries.

“We’re now in the middle and we should be among the top 30% by the next two cycles.

“Everything we’ve been doing is geared towards that and we’re already seeing the fruits now, ” he added.

In all three literacies, girls did better than the boys although the performance gap between the genders had shrunk.

More than half (54%) of the students could identify the main idea in a text of moderate length, find information based on explicit, though sometimes complex, criteria, and reflect on the purpose and form of texts when directed.

Some 59% of students could interpret and recognise, without direct instructions, how a situation – for example, converting prices into a different currency – could be represented mathematically.

And some 63% could recognise the correct explanation for familiar scientific phenomena and use such knowledge to identify, in simple cases, whether a conclusion was valid based on the data provided.

The majority of students (84%) agreed that their teachers enjoyed teaching and were diligent and interested in the subject taught.

They also agreed that the teachers gave additional guidance to those who needed it and would make sure that the students understood the lessons.

Students also revealed that they no longer like reading as a hobby – a significant difference compared to 2009.

The popular reading materials were newspapers (55%), comics (42%) and fiction (51%).

“The percentage of students who read (material) online has increased significantly and the number of

students who look for information online is almost the same as the OECD average, ” said Amin.

Over 80% often go online to learn about a topic, gain practical knowledge and read the latest news, he added.

Some 600,000 students in 79 countries and economies completed the test in 2018, representing about 32 million 15-year-olds.

Several countries took part for the first time, including Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei, Morocco, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia and Ukraine.

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