Pisa rankings: historic drop in France's maths scores - Public Senate

Pisa rankings: historic drop in France’s maths scores – Public Senate

“In mathematics, the sharp decline observed in France between 2018 and 2022 is the largest recorded since the first PISA study,” reports the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development). Nevertheless, a historic decline is observed at the level of 81 member and partner countries of the OECD. Published every three years, PISA focuses on three areas (science, mathematics and reading comprehension) and offers in-depth development of one of the subjects. Mathematics was “main” in the rankings this year. The study is based on a sample of 690,000 15-year-old students, 6,770 of them in France.

“This steep drop in math scores is three times the changes seen in previous surveys”

While France’s maths level fell by 21 points to a score of 474, the OECD average fell by 15 points to 472. So most OECD countries saw their scores drop, with Singapore taking the top spot. In its rankings, the OECD points to a significant difference in France between the scores of the most advantaged students and the least advantaged students. The difference between the most advantaged 25% and the least advantaged 25% is 113 points compared to the OECD average of 94. Boys also scored ten points higher, while girls performed better in reading comprehension (20 points higher). “This steep decline in math scores is three times greater than the changes observed in previous surveys,” the OECD also reports.

A decline is also seen in reading comprehension and science in France and across the OECD. French students’ scores fell by 19 points in reading comprehension and by 6 points in science, compared to declines of 10 and 2 points in the OECD. If the drop in scores is historic, the collected data allows us to say that “the sharp drop can only be partially attributed to the covid-19 pandemic,” according to the OECD. In the afternoon, the Minister of National Education, Gabriel Attal, must present several measures to respond to these problems.

50% of French students complain about noise and disorder in the classroom

The Pisa ranking also gathers other elements about teaching conditions. If 91.5% of French students declare themselves safe at school, 16% say they are not satisfied with their lives, compared to just 7% in 2015. Alarming figures, as school bullying is still common and several students last year committed suicide.

While 30% of French students report being distracted by the digital devices they use in class (a score in line with the OECD average), 50% complain about noise and clutter in the classroom.

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