09 SES 01 A, Findings from International Comparative Achievement Studies: Relationships in Mathematics, Science and Problem Solving
Parallel Paper Session
In PISA studies, Finland has managed to yield both high-level and high-equal outcomes in mathematics and science. The number of the lowest performing students has been one of the smallest and meanwhile we have managed to produce a relatively good number of high-performing students. It can be seen ideal for countries to have a high average with minimum inequality because wide disparities in students’ performance may indicate a poor educational system that cannot provide all students with equal opportunities for learning (Huang, 2009). Even though the percentages of the weakest performers in mathematics and science have been very small (6 and 8 percent in PISA 2009) this means several thousand students who leave below the baseline level and are therefore enable to participate actively in life situations of modern society. Identifying and grasping this problem is essential for the educational policy of the country (OECD, 2010).
In this study, our goal is to characterize those weakest performing students in mathematics and science based on the Finnish data of PISA 2009. What are the background factors which would specify these students? In which part of country are they located? What kind of home background do they have? Is there something special in their school environment? The characterizing background factors will be explored by comparing this weakest subgroup with the rest of population and also by contrasting it to the top performing group. The weakest performers have been defined to students leaving below the proficiency level 2 and the top performers reaching the proficiency levels 5 and 6.
Huang, M-H. (2009). Beyond horse race comparisons of national performance averages: math performance variance within and between classrooms in 38 countries. Educational Research and Evaluation, 15(4), 327-342. Isaaks, E.H. & Srivastava, R.M. (1989) Applied Geostatistics. New York: Oxford University Press. OECD. (2010). PISA 2009 results: Overcoming social background. Equity in learning opportunities and outcomes (Volume II). Paris: OECD.
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