PISA scores

  • Declining trend in reading proficiency, mathematics and science literacy among 15-year-olds

    In 2018, Flemish 15-year-olds achieved an average PISA score of 502 points for reading proficiency. This score decreased by 17 points between 2009 and 2018. A comparison is made with 2009 because that year reading comprehension was the main domain in the PISA study.

    15-year-olds achieved an average PISA score of 518 points for mathematics literacy in 2018. This score decreased by 35 points between 2003 (mathematics literacy was the main domain that year) and 2018.

    The Flemish PISA-score for science literacy of 15-year-olds averaged 510 points in 2018. Between 2006 (science literacy was the main domain that year) and 2018 this score decreased by 19 points.

  • Rising trend in share of low performers

    In 2018, the proportion of top performers was 12% for reading proficiency, 19% for mathematics literacy and 10% for science literacy. These are pupils who achieve the highest proficiency levels. The proportion of top performers remained equal between 2009 and 2018 for reading proficiency, for mathematics literacy the share decreased by 15 points between 2003 and 2018 and by 2 points for science literacy between 2006 and 2018.

    The share of low performers in 2018 was 19% for reading proficiency, 17% for mathematics literacy and 18% for science literacy. These pupils achieved insufficient skills in the domain in question to enable them to participate fully in today’s society. Since 2009, the share of low performers in reading proficiency has increased, as well as the share for mathematics literacy since 2003 and the share for science literacy since 2006.

  • Boys perform better for mathematics literacy, girls perform better for reading proficiency

    In Flanders, boys aged 15 perform better than girls of that age for mathematics literary (+14 points). For reading proficiency, girls do significantly better (+20 points). For science literacy there is no significant difference.

    Non-immigrant 15-years-old students perform better than 15-year-old students with a migration background. This applies to both first- and second-generation immigrant students.

  • Flanders is European top achiever for mathematics literacy

    In 2018, Flanders performed better than the OECD average in all areas, but it does not rank among the top in reading proficiency and science literacy. In those domains, a number of EU countries are doing better than Flanders. Almost no EU country performs better significantly for mathematics literacy.

Sources

Definitions

PISA score: Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is an international comparative survey undertaken on the initiative of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) PISA tests 15-year-olds for reading proficiency, mathematics literacy and science literacy, regardless of where they are in the education system. Students are given not only a test but also a questionnaire. The school board also completes a questionnaire.

 

Top performers: students who achieve the highest proficiency levels (5 and 6).  

 

Low performers: students who do not achieve the basic proficiency level (2). Pupils who do not achieve this level have insufficient skills in the domain to participate fully in today’s society. 

 

Migration background

  • Non-immigrant: at least one parent is born in the country where the test is held (the student’s country of birth is irrelevant)
  • 1st-generation immigrant: the student and both parents are not born in the country where the test is held
  • 2nd-generation immigrant: the student is born in the country where the test is held, but both parents were born in a different country

Publication date

13 January 2020

Next update

December 2022

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