Catalonia improving in Education, PISA survey finds

Secondary school pupils in Catalonia are doing better in reading, math and science. Catalonia ranks 15th in reading skills, at the same level as Sweden and the United States


December 7, 2010 09:27 PM

Barcelona (ACN).- Catalan education is improving. The latest findings of the PISA survey (Programme for International Student Assessment) show that Catalan pupils have the same reading levels as students in Sweden and the United States. Catalonia came in 15th in the rankings for reading skills, while Spain as a whole came in 27th. The Catalan Minister for Education welcomed the results, praising teachers and a new method of continued assessment as the key factors to explain these 'good results'.

The PISA survey, conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OCDE), compares standards between different education systems in the world. The results are based on the exams that secondary pupils of 15 years of age took in 2009. The exam results demonstrate reading skills in the 60th percentile and science and math knowledge in the 20th. Catalan pupils got 498 points in reading skills. This figure is 21 points higher than the one in 2006, and 15 points superior than the 2003 exams. In fact, in reading skills, Catalonia is 6.5 points above the OCDE average and up to 17 points higher than the Spanish average. Taking these results into account, Catalonia comes in 15th in the OCDE ranking of better education systems, just after the United States (16th) and before Sweden (17th). Despite these optimistic results, immigrant students performed worse than native Catalan pupils. Those that came from abroad got 86.55 points less than native students. The Catalan Minister for Education, Ernest Maragall, said that this is linked to the situation of the education system in their countries of origin. Peru and Colombia, for example, where many pupils in Catalonia come from, got 370 and 413 points, respectively, compared to the almost 500 for Catalonia. In Math, Catalan pupils got 496 points, which is an increase of 8 points in comparison with the last survey. In Science, students did better too. The 2009 PISA survey gave Catalan students 497 points, 6 more than 2006, but still 5 less than in 2003. Among sexes, girls did better than boys. Catalan girls got 29 points more than boys on the reading exam. Private and semi-private schools pupils performed 16.5 points better than state schools. Up to 5% of Catalan pupils got an excellent level. Overall, 3% of Spanish pupils are considered to be excellent, while the percentage rises to 8% when considering the results of all OCDE countries. However, 13% of Catalan students are falling behind the rest. This percentage is 20% in Spain and 18% in all OCDE countries. Up to 1,381 Catalan pupils (674 girls and 707 boys) from 50 different schools took the PISA exams in 2009.