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NZ students continue to be among the best

7th December 2004

New Zealand students continue to be among the best in the world

Results from an international study of 15-year-old students in 41 countries released today have shown New Zealanders continuing to achieve at a high level by international standards.

The OECD report on the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) assessed students in reading, mathematics, science and problem solving in 2003.

"PISA 2003 shows New Zealand students are performing significantly above OECD averages and on a par with students in countries like Australia and Canada for all four achievement areas, Acting Secretary for Education Rob McIntosh said today.

"I'm pleased that our students continue to appear among this group of high performing countries.

"It is also encouraging that this is the first year problem solving has been assessed and our students have shown themselves to be really competent in this key area.

"However, as in 2000, PISA 2003 shows that, while the majority of our students do well, there are still significant numbers of students not performing as well as we would like.

"This issue has received considerable attention in recent years and will remain a key focus. A range of initiatives is being implemented to tackle the issue but we would not have necessarily expected to see the effects of these in PISA 2003. This is because the current literacy and numeracy strategies were not being implemented in primary and intermediate schools when the students involved in this latest study were going through," said Rob McIntosh. (See attached backgrounder for details of initiatives).

The first PISA study was carried out in 2000. In this second cycle nine more countries participated and this meant well over a quarter of a million students internationally were assessed. In New Zealand, around 4500 students from 173 secondary schools participated in the study.

"While individual country rankings will fluctuate from study to study, partly as more countries participate, our overall level of performance remains high," said Rob McIntosh.

"Overall the results highlight the hard work that is going on in schools, and I want to acknowledge our students and thank teachers, principals, boards of trustees, parents and everyone who has helped contribute to this positive result."

Link to the New Zealand report

Link to the International report


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