ACT students buck national trend on international testing


Released 03/12/2019

ACT school students have seen an improvement since 2015 and continue to perform above the OECD average despite a national slow long-term decline in results, according to data released by the OECD’s 2018 Programme for International School Assessment (PISA).

Designed by education experts from around the world, the PISA test is taken by 15-year-old students in almost 80 countries or economies around the world and measures competence in three core domains; reading, scientific and mathematical literacy.

PISA assesses students’ ability to apply their knowledge and skills to real-life problems and situations rather than a test of how well they have learned, and can recall, specific curriculum content. Students are not given their individual test scores, but the data contributes to a national mean score.

Of the 14,273 Australian students who participate in the 2018 PISA test, 843 students were from ACT public, Catholic and independent schools.

While national and ACT results show a slow long-term decline since the test began in 2000, the 2018 results show a small improvement for ACT students from 2015.

In reading literacy, ACT students achieved an average of 535 points, which was significantly higher than the 2015 ACT result of 516 points, the Australian average of 503 points, and the OECD average of 487 points.

In mathematics, ACT students achieved a score of 515 points, which was significantly higher than the Australian mean of 491 points, and the OECD average of 489 points.

Nationally, a significant gender gap favouring males in mathematical literacy performance has returned. However, in the ACT girls have improved their mean scores by 14 points from 2015 achieving a mean score of 516 points compared with 514 points for ACT boys in mathematical literacy.

ACT students achieved an average score of 533 points in scientific literacy, which was significantly higher than the Australian score of 503 points and the OECD average of 489 points. In the ACT, girls have improved by 14 points in science literacy and are now 12 points in front of ACT boys.

Further results

Reading literacy in the ACT:

  • 21% of ACT students were high performers, which was higher than all other jurisdictions.
  • 13% of ACT students were low performers, the lowest proportion of any jurisdiction.
  • 70% of ACT students attained the National Proficient Standard in reading literacy, which was higher than in all other jurisdictions.

Mathematics in the ACT:

  • 15% of ACT students were higher performers, higher than all other jurisdictions and the average of OECD average.
  • 15% of ACT students were low performers, the lowest proportion of any jurisdiction.
  • 66% of ACT attained the National Proficient Standard in mathematical literacy.

Scientific literacy in the ACT:

  • 15% of ACT students were high performers, which was higher than all other jurisdictions.
  • 11% of ACT students in the Australian Capital Territory were low performers, the lowest proportion of any jurisdiction.
  • 71% of ACT students attained the National Proficient Standard in scientific literacy; the highest of all Australian jurisdictions.

- Statement ends -

Section: Yvette Berry, MLA | Media Releases

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megan.cursley@act.gov.au


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