The 2015 version of the PISA test were published today – 6 December 2016. PISA is an acronym for Program for International Student Assessment but, in reality, what is being assessed are the school systems. The OECD works with education experts from all the participating economies and the stated goal is specifically to verify that it isn’t just the rich kids getting the head start in life.

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All participating countries are asked to select at least 5,000 students, at random. If the country in question is not equipped to sample from the entire country, they’re allowed to submit a sample by region. China will participate on a nationwide basis, for the first time, in 2018.

Tunisia is the only economy from the continent of Africa that participated in both 2012 and 2015.

We’d have added a BRICS table, to compare with the Anglo table, but both India and South Africa are conspicuously absent from the list of participating states.

Nevertheless, it’s worth mentioning that Russia is clearly bringing up the rear. Even though, in all three cases (Math, Science & Reading) they came in third place on a list with the United Kingdom and the United States – they also improved their 2012 scores significantly, on all three counts – where both the UK and the US lost some ground.

It’s worth noting also that, this year, in the United States, the state of Massachusetts chose to compete on a regional basis. We only compiled tables where we had two years of data, so Massachusetts is not included, but if they’d been in the mix they would have made the top ten listings in both Reading (527) and Science (529), bumping New Zealand and Mainland China off the charts respectively.

Following are the top ten global rankings for each of the three areas tested: Reading, Math & Science, followed by the scores achieved by the world’s English Speaking Countries.

Here’s the Official Key Findings analysis for 2015, from the OECD. And here’s the quiz, in case you think you might want to have a few factoids handy for a conversation later.


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