According to the Programme for International Student Assessment, a premier global metric for education, compiled by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the results of Estonian 15-year-olds are the best in Europe and among the strongest in the entire world.
The PISA study of 2015 concentrated on natural sciences and also tested pupils in mathematics and functional reading.
According to the study, the knowledge and skills of Estonian 15-year-olds in biology, geography, physics and chemistry are among the best in the world – the first in Europe and third on the global scale. The number of top achievers who can solve extremely complicated tasks, is higher than ever before – standing at 13.5 per cent, while the OECD average is eight. Among the European countries, Estonia has the least low performers – over twice as little compared with other countries’ averages, the Estonian ministry of education said in a statement.
Estonian teachers and schools are determined
The Estonian minister of education, Mailis Reps, said the results showed the Estonian schools are ambitious and teachers very determined at their jobs. “We’ve developed our education system, dwelling on the correct principles, because the effect of these changes will also be seen in 10-15 years,” she said. “I’m glad that we’ve ensured and kept the status of a top country in the field of education, despite our more austere means compared with other countries.”
In mathematics, the Estonian youths came second in Europe together with Switzerland, and ninth in the world. Almost 90% of the Estonian youngsters have at least the basic knowledge in mathematics, which puts Estonia among the five best countries.
In functional reading skills, Estonian pupils come third in Europe and sixth in the world.
— OECD Education (@OECDEduSkills) December 6, 2016
The PISA study takes into account the students’ ability to use their knowledge. “That is why these results are more important than just the testing of knowledge,” Gunda Tire, the administrator of the Study in Estonia, said in a statement. “We want to know whether the youngsters are ready for the challenges in the future and how the Estonian education system supports that.”
On the downside, the PISA study said that although the gap in the results of boys and girls has decreased, there are still more weaker boys than there are girls. The study also pointed out that there is a significant difference when comparing Estonian and Russian-language schools in the country.
PISA was introduced in 2000 and has tested pupils every three years since. The OECD’s PISA 2015 tested around 540,000 15-year-old students in 72 countries and economies on science, reading, maths and collaborative problem-solving. The main focus was on science, an increasingly important part of today’s economy and society.
Cover: Estonian schoolkids (the image is illustrative.)