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International Competitions

Introduction to Taiwan’s Participation in the Programme for International Student Assessment, PISA

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  • Post Date: 12/11/2012

1.    PISA Profile

The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) was developed by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) for transnational research.

Objective: Assessing 15 year old students and the critical knowledge needed for participating in society. By way of international comparison, overall national education assessment and evaluation information is provided as a reference for countries when developing education policies.

Features: Accomplishment and not achievement orientated in order to be more realistic and assessing students for the application and communication of important knowledge.

Since implementing PISA in 2000, a survey is conducted once every three years, with one main theme and two supplementary themes each time (reading, math, and science), many countries use the PISA results as a reference when making education reforms. Because of PISA’s innovative and authentic assessment design, standardized sampling and scoring procedures, and strict implementation of quality control, the transnational and longitudinal comparisons of the assessment results have gained universal attention.

2. Taiwan’s PISA results (including the comparison of Taiwan and previous results)

When Taiwan first participated in "PISA2006" international assessment with 57 countries taking part, Taiwan’s 15 year old students had the excellent performance of ranking first in “math literacy” and fourth in “science literacy.” Taiwan’s assessment after participating in PISA2009 was that overall test scores were still higher than the OECD average. Among the 65 countries that participated in PISA2009, Taiwan’s 15 year old students were in the top 1/3 in reading literacy, the top 1/5 in science literacy, and the top 1/10 in math literacy.

Table 1  PISA2009 Comparison between Taiwan and the top ten countries’ students

Rankings

Reading literacy

Math literacy

Science literacy

1

Shanghai

556

(80)

Shanghai

600

(103)

Shanghai

575

(82)

2

Korea

539

(79)

Singapore

562

(104)

Finland

554

(89)

3

Finland

536

(86)

Hong Kong

555

(95)

Hong Kong

549

(87)

4

Hong Kong

533

(84)

Korea

546

(89)

Singapore

542

(104)

5

Singapore

526

(97)

Taiwan

543

(105)

Japan

539

(100)

6

Canada

524

(90)

Finland

541

(82)

Korea

538

(82)

7

New Zealand

521

(103)

Liechtenstein

536

(88)

New Zealand

532

(87)

8

Japan

520

(100)

Switzerland

534

(99)

Canada

529

(90)

9

Australia

515

(99)

Japan

529

(94)

Estonia

528

(84)

10

The Netherlands

508

(89)

Canada

527

(88)

Australia

527

(101)

 

OECD

493

(93)

OECD

496

(92)

OECD

501

(94)

 

Taiwan

(23)

495

(86)

 

 

Taiwan

(12)

520

(87)

Note: OECD refers to the average of OECD members, ( ) represents the standard deviation of the countries’ scores

Table 2        Taiwan’s PISA 2006 vs 2009

Field

PISA 2006

PISA 2009

Average scores (Rankings)

Average scores (Rankings)

Reading

496  (16)

495  (23)

Math

549   (1)

543   (5)

Science

532   (4)

520  (12)

3. Taiwan’s progress and future prospects for participating in PISA2012

Taiwan will continue to participate in 「PISA2012」, the main theme of the tests will be the field of math, and reading and science will be supplementary themes. This year, computerized testing will be added for the first time. 

PISA 2012 has a total of 67 countries/areas participating; A total of 29 countries/areas participate in the Computer Based Assessment of Literacy (CBAL).

Taiwan’s pretest work was completed in March to April 2011, and a total of 110 schools and 2,743 students participated.

The National Science Council has commissioned the National University of Tainan to serve as a planner for this assessment so it can be carried out smoothly. This school has already held coordination officer briefings from January 9-11, 2012, in north, central, and southern Taiwan areas to explain matters that require assistance in terms of assessment work, and hope that the tested schools can encourage students to answer seriously when tested.

“PISA2012” is officially expected to be held from March 26th to April 27th, 2012, and Taiwan will have 6560 students from 228 schools officially participate. Because measured student attendance rate must be over 85%, for Taiwan’s student test scores to be recognized for international assessment (the research team evaluated that 90% and higher is better to remove uncertainty), the Council has invited the National University of Tainan professional team to give a briefing to the Chief Education Officer of the Department of Education in August 2011 and February 2012, to explain what counties and cities must do to help. Other education administrative authorities will be invited in the beginning of March to participate so that the testing can go smoothly this time and truly reflect the ability of Taiwan’s students.

Due to the attention toward national literacy, the Executive Yuan approved the “Twelve-year Compulsory Basic Education Implementation Plan” on September 20th 2011 and has listed “Improving National Literacy” as a program. According to former program plans, PISA national literacy survey data will be transferred and integrated in the National Institute for Educational Research to establish an integration platform for the long-term research, tracking, and international comparisons of Taiwan’s human resource qualities and abilities so solutions can be proposed.