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Wednesday 08.04.2020 | Name days: Dana, Dans, Danute, Edgars

Latvian pupils’ mathematics score above average among OECD member states

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topical, Latvian pupils, mathematics, PISA 2018Latvian pupils’ mathematics skills are reportedly higher than average among member states of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, according to results of OECD PISA 2018.

The average results of Latvian pupils were scored 496, which is statistically higher than the average OECD level – 489. Authors of the study say this is the highest result in mathematics Latvian pupils have achieved in seven cycles of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).

Accomplishments of Latvian pupils are not statistically all that different from accomplishments of pupils from Sweden, Britain, Norway, Germany, Ireland, Czech Republic, Austria and France.

Mathematics score is the highest for pupils from China – 591, Singapore – 569, Macao – 558, Hong Kong, Taiwan – 531, Japan – 527, Estonia – 523, Netherlands – 519 and Poland – 516. Among EU member states, accomplishments of Estonian pupils in mathematics are the highest, researchers stress.

Authors of the research say Latvian pupils’ mathematics competence in PISA 2018 has statistically increased by 14 points when compared to results of PISA 2015.

Nevertheless, the relative number of pupils with high accomplishments is 8.5% in Latvia, which is below the average index among OECD member states – 10.9%.

The study also mentions Latvia has a significantly smaller number of pupils with low score in mathematics than the average in OECD member states. In Latvia this number is 17.3%, whereas the average in OECD member states is 23.9%. The number of pupils with low score in mathematics in Latvia has declined 2.6 percentage points when compared to 2012.

Read also: Estonian pupils – best among European nations in PISA education test

Researchers also add that the score of boys in Latvia is seven points higher than that of girls, and this difference in statistically important. The research stresses that in previous research cycles the different between mathematics score of boys and girls was statistically unimportant. Now, on the other hand, boys are relatively more represented in the high accomplishment group.

As for natural sciences, girls’ accomplishments are better than those of boys. Latvian girls’ accomplishments in natural sciences in PISA 2018 are eight points higher than accomplishments of boys, and this difference is statistically important, because the score of girls from other OECD member states are generally two points higher than the score of boys, authors of the research say.

Generally, the score of Latvian pupils in natural sciences meets the average score of OECD member states and their competence in this area has not changed when compared to three other PISA cycles, which means the quality of natural science knowledge is good and stable, authors say.

Latvia’s Education and Science Minister Ilga Šuplinska told journalists at the research reveal press-conference on Tuesday, 3 December, that pupils’ score in mathematics appeared surprising, considering that the score in PISA studies have grown over a number of years, whereas the score in the country’s central exams has not been all that good. The minister says it will be necessary to look for commonalities.

University of Latvia Education and Research Institute’s leading researcher Andris Kangro stresses that while analysing data from different international surveys a trend is noticed when Latvian pupils are generally better in elementary school, then become slightly worse in primary school and then even worse in secondary school. According to him, to understand the correlation here, it is necessary to study pupils’ motivation to study.

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