NSW students improve in science in global assessment
NSW science students have recorded a significant improvement in the latest PISA results. Kerrie O’Connor reports.
08 December 2023
An international report shows NSW students have significantly improved their performance in science, despite the challenges of COVID-19.
The 2022 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) examined the scientific, reading and mathematical literacy of 15-year-olds in 81 countries, including 3200 students from 174 NSW government and non-government schools.
NSW performed significantly better than the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) average, with strong gains in science for male and female students and steady outcomes in reading and maths.
The results released on Tuesday, December 5, showed NSW recorded:
- a 12-point improvement in scientific literacy, compared with a national improvement of four points
- a six-point improvement in reading literacy, compared with a national decline of five points
- a two-point improvement in maths literacy, compared with a national decline of four points.
Department of Education Secretary Murat Dizdar said the results were a credit to teachers during difficult times.
“NSW teachers deserve high praise for helping students achieve significantly better results in science, despite the enormous challenges across the past few years with the pandemic and natural disasters which have led to disrupted schooling for our students,” he said.
NSW’s international ranking has improved since the last PISA report in 2018, rising to equal eighth in science (up from 15th) and equal ninth in maths and reading (up from equal 29th and equal 18th respectively), according to analysis by the Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation.
“Our teachers focus on developing critical thinking, applying scientific knowledge and skills and reaching evidence-based conclusions,” Mr Dizdar said.
“At the same time our teachers, despite staffing challenges across the system, ensure that our students are known, valued and cared for – we could not ask for anything more from a deeply committed profession.”
While average performances declined internationally, Australia, Singapore, Japan, South Korea and Switzerland maintained, or further improved student performance.
The report also supports the NSW Government’s ban of mobile phones in schools, with the PISA report finding that 40 per cent of Australian students were distracted by digital devices.
PISA 2022 shows Australian teachers are more willing to offer extra help than their OECD counterparts.
In Australia, 68% of students reported that in most mathematics lessons the teacher shows an interest in every student’s learning (OECD average: 63%), and 77% reported the teacher gives extra help when students need it (OECD average: 70%).