No stress over Pisa

Schools and students need not prepare for the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) test.

And since the test is meant to be reported at a national level - not at an individual or school level - it is unlikely to create additional pressure, Education Minister Heng Swee Keat said in response to a question.

Singapore's 15-year-olds beat students from 43 other economies in problem- solving, according to the Pisa 2012 study released last December. They also came in second in mathematics, and third in science and reading.

The aim of taking part in Pisa is to find out how well students here are equipped with important life skills they need for their future. It is not to get a good global ranking, Mr Heng added.

Mr Lim Biow Chuan (Mountbatten) had asked if the Pisa test would put pressure on students to maintain such good performance.

Mr Heng stressed that "no preparation was required of schools and students". Later, responding to a follow-up question by Mr Lim, Mr Heng assured the MP that his ministry had no part in selecting the students.

"The sample is selected by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, who have statistical agencies that advise them on the students who are representative of the cohort," he said. "This is not just for Singapore but for all over the world, and that's why the results are meaningful."

This article was published on April 15 in The Straits Times.

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