Portuguese pupils top OECD averages for first time

Portuguese teens scored their best results ever in 2015’s OECD PISA tests, which evaluate education systems worldwide.

For the first time in a ranking dominated by Asian countries, Portugal’s pupils have reached the top 20 of more than 70 countries, and pushed through the OECD averages in scientific literacy, reading and mathematics.

In the first area – a subject dominated by Asian countries – Portugal did better than any other European nation – and a great deal better, say reports, than its Spanish neighbours.

On the slightly negative side however is the fact that only half the pupils in the study were in the right year for their age. (PISA tests are centred on 15-year-olds, irrespective of which class they might be in. This means a number of the pupils taking part will have failed at least one year in their scholastic progress).

Another cause for reserve is that various areas of the country – the Algarve, Azores and Bragança in particular – did not score above OECD averages.

But Hélder Sousa, president of the institute of educational evaluation (IAVE), claims these details should not detract from the overall “extremely positive” results which saw Portugal improving way beyond other countries taking part in tri-annual PISA tests.

To re-cap: in Scientific Literacy, Portuguese teens came in at 17th position, Reading Literacy – 18th and Mathematical Literacy – 22nd.

In sciences, for example, Portugal is now ahead of countries like Norway, the United States, Sweden and Spain, reports TSF radio, while in reading, Portuguese teens have passed the U.S. and Spain, and are only “slightly behind France”

Maths continues to be a weak point, but “just higher than the OECD average”.

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