East Asian nations top PISA global education rankings

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Graduates in front of a Shanghai university. Students in Shanghai topped the rest of the world in maths, science and reading, according to the PISA report on global education released today.(AFP/Liu Jin)

Paris — East Asian nations took the top spots in the PISA report on global education on Tuesday, with Shanghai students again ranking first in maths, science, and reading.

This year’s survey focused on math skills, and East Asian countries filled the top seven spots.

The top 10 rankings in maths were Shanghai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Macao-China, Japan, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and The Netherlands.

The PISA report (Program for International Student Assessment) is the single largest study of global education.

The three-yearly report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is based on surveys of over half a million 15-year-olds in 65 countries.

The report is also highly influential among education officials, with the nations surveyed representing over 80 percent of the global economy.

The results of this year’s report showed that China’s Shanghai region easily topped the rest of the world in maths, reading and science.

Shanghai’s rankings showed its students are three years of schooling ahead of their counterparts with average scores, including those of many wealthy Western countries such as Britain and France, according to reports.

The report only includes some of China’s most economically advanced regions, so it lacks a truly national sample and is therefore not representative of the entire country.

This year’s report was another disappointment for the United States, whose maths rank fell to 36th place, its reading to 24th, and its science to 28th. 

Finland was the only European country to make the top five in any category, placing fifth in science.

Gender differences remained strong, with girls outperforming in reading skills and boys doing better in maths.

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