According to the recently published 2012 results of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), a triennial international benchmarking study organized by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Asian countries filled the top seven places with Singapore (their Ministry of Education has a press release here detailing the performance of Singaporean students) and Shanghai extending their leads over other countries.
PISA assessed the competencies of 15-year-olds in reading, mathematics and science (with a focus on mathematics) in 65 countries and economies. Around 510,000 students between the ages of 15 years 3 months and 16 years 2 months participated in the assessment, representing about 28 million 15-year-olds globally.
The paper-based test lasted 2 hours and included a mixture of open-ended and multiple-choice questions that were organized in groups based on a passage setting out a real-life situation. Students took different combinations of different tests and both they and their school principals also answered questionnaires to provide information about the students’ backgrounds, schools and learning experiences and about the broader school system and learning environment.
The results should serve as a warning signal for the education systems of other and especially western countries as the global war for talent will only get tougher.