Malaysia shows improvement in Maths and Science

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia has improved its educational performance in Mathematics and Science in the past three years, the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) 2012 report revealed yesterday.

The global assessment, conducted by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) once every three years, tested more than 510,000 15-year-old students from 65 countries on their reading, Mathematics and Science abilities.

The report was released via the OECD website at 6pm yesterday.

From the findings, Malaysia performed better in Mathematics with a mean score of 421 compared with 404 in 2010, moving up five spots to 52nd in the rankings behind Thailand and Chile but ahead of Mexico.

Meanwhile, the performance of Malaysian students in Science remained consistent with a reading of 420, putting the country ahead of Montenegro, Uruguay and Mexico.

However, the reading ability of the assessed group decreased from a mean score of 414 to 398.

As a result, Malaysia dropped five spots to 60th in the category.

There was an improvement in the performance gap between boys and girls in Mathematics, with the gap narrowed to an average score which was better than the OECD benchmark.

According to the report, the overall performance gap between the advantaged and disadvantaged was also reduced, bettering the OECD average.

Overall, the Pisa report revealed that Malaysia still remained in the bottom one-third of all the countries assessed, and well behind its closest neighbour Singapore, which was ranked in the top five across all categories.

However, the OECD singled out the country, together with Qatar and Kazakhstan, as having shown a significant increase in competency in Mathematics, albeit at the lower level.

The Education Ministry said on Monday that it was hoping Malaysia would show a significant improvement in the 2015 report, which would reflect the education reforms initiated under the National Education Blueprint launched this year.

Malaysia first participated in Pisa in 2010 and was among 10 countries which were assessed on a reduced and delayed timeline to the original study, known as Pisa2009+.