Australian teenagers have fallen almost two academic years behind students who went to school in the early 2000s, with nearly half failing to reach national standards in maths and reading in the latest round of international tests. Source: The Age.
The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) results reveal the huge achievement gap between the richest and poorest students is continuing to expand after a $320 billion school funding deal was signed more than four years ago.
Despite the lacklustre results, Australia regained its place in the international top 10 for the first time since 2003, but testing authorities say that is largely due to the decline of other countries, rather than significant local improvement.
Singapore was the highest-performing country in all subject areas in 2022, with a mean score of 575 points in maths, 561 in science and 543 in reading, compared with Australia’s 487, 507 and 498.
Overall, the proportion of low performers in maths, reading and science has doubled since 2000, while at the same time the number of high-performing students has fallen.
The findings underscore glaring inequities in the nation’s education system: 15-year-olds from disadvantaged families lag their advantaged counterparts by five years of schooling. Indigenous students are around four years behind non-Indigenous students.
Overall, the latest PISA results – the first since the COVID-19 pandemic – show the nation’s education system has stagnated since the last report was released in 2019.
When school and student-level socioeconomic background is factored in, both independent and government schools perform better than Catholic schools in maths and science. For reading, results showed there was no advantage for independent students, but government students performed better than Catholic students.
Federal Education Minister Jason Clare said the results highlighted the need to fix the funding and education gap in Australian schools.
‘Australia’s long-term slide’ in reading, maths and science, PISA results show (By Lucy Carroll and Christopher Harris, The Age)