In a recent revelation by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Irish students have emerged as top performers in reading literacy across the European Union. The results, derived from the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) conducted in 2022, highlight Ireland’s strong standing in education, particularly in reading, where they lead among 26 EU and 37 OECD countries.
The study, assessing the abilities of 15-year-olds from 81 countries in mathematics, reading, and science, places Irish students above the average in all three disciplines. Notably, Ireland has risen to the second position in reading globally, trailing only behind Singapore. This achievement is underscored by 89% of Irish students attaining a level two or higher in reading, surpassing the OECD average of 74%.
However, the study also uncovers a worrying trend in mathematics. Ireland’s mean score in mathematics has fallen by eight points since 2018, a lesser decline compared to the average 15-point drop across OECD countries. This decline is reflected in the lower percentage of top performers in mathematics in Ireland compared to the OECD average. Only 7% of Irish students reached levels five or six in maths, whereas the OECD average stands at 9%.
In science literacy, Ireland has made significant progress, jumping from 22nd to 12th place out of 81 countries. Similarly, in mathematics, Ireland has improved its ranking from 21st to 11th place, though it remains below average in terms of top performers.
Gender disparities are also evident in the results. Irish boys outperform girls in mathematics by 13 score points, while girls lead in reading by an average of 18 score points. The study also notes a general decline in students’ satisfaction with life, with nearly one-fifth of Irish students expressing dissatisfaction.
The PISA results also delve into the impact of smartphone and tablet usage on learning. A notable finding is that students spending over an hour daily on phones for leisure activities, like social media or gaming, exhibit a significant drop in mathematics scores.
Responding to the results, Education Minister Norma Foley highlights the resilience of Irish schools during the COVID-19 pandemic and acknowledges the need for improvement in mathematics. The government’s commitment to promoting STEM education, especially among females, is also emphasized.
This comprehensive assessment involved 5,569 students across 170 schools in Ireland, offering a detailed insight into the educational landscape. The mixed performance in various disciplines underscores the need for continued focus and improvement in the Irish education system.
What is PISA: The Programme for International Student Assessment?
The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is a global study initiated by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) involving both member and non-member nations. Launched in 1997, PISA aims to assess the effectiveness of educational systems by measuring the academic performance of 15-year-old students in mathematics, science, and reading. The study, conducted every three years, covers over 80 countries. PISA not only provides comparative data on the performance of 15-year-olds in these key subjects but also gathers crucial information on student attitudes, motivations, and skills such as collaborative problem-solving and global competence.
Also in PISA Report
The full report is available with this link: https://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/education/pisa-2022-results-volume-ii…
Global Context of PISA 2022: The PISA 2022 assessment occurred amidst a significant period of global disruption, notably the COVID-19 pandemic. This context provides a unique perspective on the resilience of educational systems and their ability to adapt to unprecedented challenges.
Focus on Mathematics and Real-life Application: The PISA 2022 study placed a special emphasis on mathematics, particularly mathematical reasoning. This focus underscores the importance of mathematics in addressing complex, real-life challenges, reflecting a shift towards practical application of academic knowledge.
Learning Outcomes Amidst Disruption: Despite the global disruptions, some countries like Japan, Korea, Lithuania, and Chinese Taipei managed to maintain or even improve their learning outcomes, ensuring fairness in learning opportunities and student well-being. This highlights the varying impact of the pandemic on education systems worldwide.
Comprehensive Assessment of Learning Outcomes: PISA is renowned for its comprehensive and rigorous international assessment of student learning outcomes. It provides an extensive evaluation of what students know in mathematics, reading, and science, and their ability to apply this knowledge effectively