Catalan pupils score above Spain, EU and OECD average in PISA tests
The latest PISA survey shows that pupils in Catalonia have performed above the Spanish, European Union and Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) average in all subjects for the first time since the report series was launched in 2000. Catalan students had never reached a score of 500 in the three Pisa tests, always struggling with scientific and mathematical skills, but this time around they passed all of the exams. The average mark in Science is 504 points (12 points more than in the previous edition three years ago), 500 points in maths (7 more) and 500 in reading comprehension, losing a point compared to 2012. The average in Spain, the EU or the OECD is not 500 points or over for any of the three tests. According to the Catalan Minister for Education, Meritxell Ruiz, the results support the “transformation of the educational model” Catalonia has been undergoing since the introduction of the Education Act of Catalonia (LEC, going by its Catalan initials) in 2009.
Madrid (ACN).- Catalan pupils have scored above the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Spanish and EU average in the three PISA tests on science and technology, maths and reading comprehension. The latest PISA survey was published this Tuesday by the OECD. According to the report, the average mark for Catalan students in reading and maths is 500 points and 504 for science. In contrast, the average for Spain, the EU and the OECD is not 500 points or over for any of the tests. The Catalan Minister for Education, Meritxell Ruiz, stated that these figures prove that the educational reforms in Catalonia are “heading in the right direction”. Furthermore, she praised the “stability and consensus” that the reforms have aroused among the educational community and the political forces. This is the first time that Catalan pupils have scored above 500 points in the three exams.
The PISA tests have been performed every three years since 2000. The last survey tested in May 2015 a total of 537,000 15-year-old students from around the world. More than 18,000 schools in 72 countries and regions in the developed world participated in the survey. In Spain the test was taken by over 37,000 students in 980 schools, of which 1,769 students and 52 schools were Catalan.
In each edition of the OECD’s PISA survey one of the three tests has more weight than the other two, and in 2015 the main focus was scientific skills. Catalonia scored 504 points in this subject, in comparison to the 492 of the 2012 test, while Spain stands at 493 points, the same as the OECD average and below the EU’s 495 points. Catalonia is the sixth Autonomous Community in Spain in the Science ranking, behind Castile and Leon, Madrid, Navarra, Aragon and Galicia.
Scoring 500 in reading comprehension, Catalonia outperforms also the Spanish average (496), the EU average (494) and that of the OECD (493), and it’s the seventh-best region in Spain after Castile and León, Madrid, Navarra, Galicia, Aragon and Cantabria.
Finally, in maths, Catalan pupils scored 500 points on average, in comparison to the 493 of 2012, also above the Spanish result (486), the OECD (490) and the EU (493). However, Catalonia is the fifth-best Autonomous Community in Spain in the maths ranking, led by Navarra, La Rioja, Madrid and Castile and León, and has the third-highest increase in score, just after Murcia and Extremadura.
In comparison with the last report, from 2012, Catalan pupils have improved 7 points in maths and twelve in science, but have lost one in reading comprehension. Catalonia also has a lower percentage of students with a low level in each of the three tests and in this again outperforms the Spanish, EU and OECD average.
Satisfied with the results
Given the report's findings, which show a dramatic improvement, the Catalan Minister for Education, Meritxell Ruiz, stated that she was “happy and satisfied”, but showed her intention to continue working to improve the scores.
According to the Minister, the results support the “transformation of the educational model” Catalonia has been undergoing since the introduction of the Education Act of Catalonia (LEC, going by its Catalan initials) in 2009. The approval of this law, she explained, was a turning point and represented a “transformation” of the educational model, which left aside rote learning and established learning from basic skills. The law also aimed at enhancing the autonomy of the schools; improving mathematics, reading and English skills to a level of excellence; and working for equality, supporting students with difficulties.
Ruiz compared Catalonia’s pedagogical situation with the disagreements that exist at a state level and the commitment of the Spanish Government to the evaluation of educational quality standards on the basis of specific knowledge. She stated that Catalonia is “heading in the right direction” in education and showed her will to “remain committed to this line” because, according to her, it is only producing its first results.