Lower-income students here outperform peers abroad
Students from lower-income homes in Singapore not only do better than their peers overseas but also outperform the average international student, the latest Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) study found.
Pisa assessed 4,000 to 8,000 15-year-old students in each country enrolled in formal education.
The 2018 study released yesterday showed that Singapore students from the bottom 25 per cent of socio-economic status (SES) performed better than the overall Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) average across all income levels.
This was true for all three domains of reading, mathematics and science.
They scored 495 in reading, versus an overall OECD average of 487, 520 in mathematics (489) and 501 in science (489).
The study also measured three types of academic resilience among students.
It found that 47 per cent of Singapore's lower-SES students - up from 43 per cent in 2015 - were "core-skills resilient", which means they attained proficiency of at least level three in the three domains.
The OECD score was 23 per cent.
"Level three" indicates "necessary core competencies to participate fully in society", meaning they are equipped to meet real-world demands. The highest level is six.
On "international resilience", which measured their reading scores against others elsewhere, 53 per cent of those from Singapore made the top quarter, compared with 33 per cent of OECD students.
But on "national resilience", which looked at how they fared against top performers in their own countries, only one in 10 of Singapore's disadvantaged students met the mark.
This was similar to the performance of OECD students.
In reading, there was a score gap of 104 between the lower- and higher-SES students in Singapore, down from 108 in 2015. In comparison, the OECD score gap in the same domain was 89, up from 86.
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Top 5 scorers in Pisa 2018
1 China 555
2 Singapore 549
3 Macau 525
4 Hong Kong 524
5 Estonia 523
1 China 591
2 Singapore 569
3 Macau 558
4 Hong Kong 551
5 Taiwan 531
1 China 590
2 Singapore 551
3 Macau 544
4 Estonia 530
5 Japan 529