Catalan pupils score above the OECD average in Reading but not in Science and Maths

The latest PISA survey shows that pupils in Catalonia perform above the Spanish average in all subjects except Science knowledge. The survey checks the knowledge of 15 year-old students of 34 member countries of the OECD and 31 others associated with this international organization in Reading, Science and Maths. In total, it evaluates up to 300.000 pupils, of which 25.313 are from Spain.

Pupils in a school in Catalonia (by ACN)
Pupils in a school in Catalonia (by ACN) / ACN


December 3, 2013 03:45 PM

Madrid (ACN).- Catalan pupils score above the OECD average in Reading but not in Science and Maths, according to the latest PISA survey published on Tuesday. The average mark for Catalan students in reading is 501 points, whereas it’s 496 for the OECD average, 489 for the EU average and 488 for the rest of Spain. In Science, Catalan students scored 492 points, below the OECD average, which is 501, the European (497) and the Spanish (496). In the last report, the average score for Catalan pupils was three points lower in Reading (498), although it was slightly better in Maths (496, three points more than now) as well as in Science (497, five more than in this report).  

The OECD’s PISA survey tests 15-year-old pupils from around the world every three years on Maths, Reading and Science. The main focus this year was on Maths, as Math proficiency is, according to their report, “a strong predictor of positive outcomes for young adults” and it influences “their ability to participate in post-secondary education and their expected future earnings”.

Scoring 501 in Reading, Catalonia outperforms the Spanish average (496) and the EU average (489), and it’s the fifth region after Madrid (511), Navarra (509), Castilla y León (504) and Asturias (504). The lowest marks were registered in Murcia (462) and Extremadura (457).

In Maths, Catalan pupils scored 493 points on average, above the Spanish result (484) and the EU (489). However, this mark is still below the OECD average, which stands at 494. Catalonia is the eighth autonomous community in Spain in the Maths ranking, lead by Navarra (517), Castilla y León (509), the Basque Country (505) and Madrid (504). The lowest performances in Maths were again in Murcia (462) and Extremadura (479). 

In Science, the Catalan mark (492) is below the Spanish average, which was 496, the EU (497) and the OECD one, at 501. The best performers in Science in Spain are Castilla y León (519), Madrid (517), Asturias (517) and Navarra (514).

In comparison with the last report, from 2009, Catalan pupils have improved three points in Reading, but have lost three in Maths and five in Science.

Spain below the OECD average

In the survey the Spanish pupils performed below the OECD average in all subjects. In Reading, their mark is 12 points below the OECD and one below the EU average. In Maths, it’s 10 points lower than in the OECD and five points lower than in the rest of the EU, while in Science it’s five points below OECD and one below the EU. Spain ranks 23rd in the OECD in Reading, 25th in Maths and 21st in Science. 

The Secretary of State for Education, Montserrat Gomendio, admitted that the Spanish pupils’performance is “below” what would be considered as a desirable level taking into account the socioeconomic conditions of the country and the investment in Education. She also highlighted the “important difference of up to 55 points” between autonomous communities. According to her, 85% of these differences could be explained for socioeconomic reasons.

More investment, but no improvements

In total, Education spending per pupil from age 6 until the end of formal education is 82.178 dollars, but according to Gomendio this improvement “does not translate” into a better performance. Her conclusion is that the solution is not necessarily to put more money into the Education system, but to change the education model.