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Key Findings of the Macao-China PISA 2006 Scientific Literacy Study . Sit P.S. & Cheung K.C. University of Macau Macao, China . Paper presented at “PISA 2006: The Performance of Educational Systems in Countries and Regions”. 3-4 April 2008 Trento, Italy.

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key findings of the macao china pisa 2006 scientific literacy study

Key Findings of the Macao-China PISA 2006 Scientific Literacy Study

Sit P.S. & Cheung K.C.

University of Macau

Macao, China

paper presented at pisa 2006 the performance of educational systems in countries and regions

Paper presented at“PISA 2006: The Performance of Educational Systems in Countries and Regions”

3-4 April 2008

Trento, Italy

slide3

Macao, special administrative region of People’s Republic of China, participated in OECD’s Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) for the first time in 2003.

  • After 3 years, Macao participated again in 2006.
  • Macao will participate for the third time in 2009.
slide4

Part one of presentation:Key findings of the scientific, mathematical and reading literacy of Macao’s 15-year-old students in the PISA 2006 Study

slide5
Three main kinds of literacy are assessed, namely, reading, mathematical and scientific literacy.

The target students assessed are all secondary students who are aged between 15 years three months and 16 years two months at the time of assessment.

Most students are studying in the middle grade levels (i.e. grade 8, 9 and 10), whereas some students are studying in the lower or higher grade levels (i.e. grade 7 and 11).

policy implications
Policy implications
  • Principals claim that they are successful in providing compensatory education. There are needs to examine the extent of grade repetition in the various school types so as to assess its effects on literacy attained at the end of compulsory education.
  • What if PISA results show that repeaters score higher in terms of literacy scores when compared with countries with similar grade repetition problems. Should they be repeated if they study in other countries?
policy implications of the three stratifying variables
Policy implications of the three stratifying variables
  • Government schools are minority (only 2 schools in the 15-year-old sample) and they are generally affluent in terms of educational resources. However, they are not first choice for parents to send their children for basic education. Explanation of school type effect is not a simple straight-forward problem.
policy implications of the three stratifying variables11
Policy implications of the three stratifying variables
  • In the light of literacy valued in postmodern society as assessed in PISA, differences in course provision between grammar and prevocational schools for compulsory education need revision.
policy implications of the three stratifying variables12
Policy implications of the three stratifying variables
  • Language of instruction is at issue when literacy is assessed. This is complicated by sampled students as they are predominantly ethnic Chinese, and English schools are valued by parents of higher ESCS. Special care is needed when literacy is compared using different groups of students (i.e. home language, test language and language of instruction issue).
table 5 distribution of macao 15 year olds proficiency levels on the literacy scales total sample
Table 5: Distribution of Macao 15-year-olds’ proficiency levels on the literacy scales -- Total sample
table 7 distribution of macao 15 year olds proficiency levels on the literacy scales females
Table 7 : Distribution of Macao 15-year-olds’ proficiency levels on the literacy scales - Females
slide19
Amongst the 57 participating countries/economies, Macao’s scientific literacy performance was statistically significantly above the OECD average, and Macao ranked between 15 and 20 on the combined science scale.

In decreasing order of the mean of scientific literacy score, countries/economies statistically significantly higher than Macao were: Finland, Hong Kong, Canada, Chinese Taipei, Estonia, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Netherlands, Liechtenstein, Korea and Slovenia.

Science Literacy Results – from the International Perspective

slide20
There are six scientific proficiency levels in the combined science scale.

Only 1.4% of the 15-year-olds performed below level 1 of the scientific literacy scale.

Only 0.3% of the 15-year-olds performed at this highest level 6 on the combined science scale.

Science Literacy Results Explained

slide21
Figure 1:Percentage of 15-year-olds at different scientific literacy proficiency levels across grades in the Macao sample
slide22
Figure 2 : Percentage of 15-year-olds at different grade levels across scientific literacy proficiency levels in the Macao sample
figure 3 literacy performance results in the pisa 2006 study
Figure 3: Literacy performance results in the PISA 2006 Study

The sampled school Higher than Macao sample

The Sampled School

Macao Sample

Macao sample

Higher than the sampled school

The sampled school Comparable Macao sample

The Sampled School

The Sampled School

low performing and high performing schools for macao
Low-performing and high-performing schools for Macao
  • When comparing the literacy performance across schools, it is important to note that the literacy assessed referred to the cumulative educational effects of all schools that the students have previously attended.
  • Therefore, a low-performing school identified in the PISA Study may not be a poor school. Low-performing students dropped out from one school may be subsequently enrolled in another school and thereby lowering the school’s literacy performance level.
  • Different schools serve different communities and they have different visions and missions.
figure 4 literacy performance results in the pisa 2006 study broken down by gender
Figure 4: Literacy performance results in the PISA 2006 Study, broken down by Gender

Females outperform males, 14.3% of co-edu school

The Sampled School Females

The Sampled School Males

The Sampled School Females

The Sampled School Males

Macao Sample Females

Gender difference pattern similar to Macao sample, 57.1% of co-edu school

The Sampled School Females

Males outperform females (except reading literacy), 25.7% of co-edu school

The Sampled School Males

Macao Sample Males

macao 15 year olds performance in the three key scientific domain areas
Macao 15-year-olds performance in the three key scientific domain areas

Amongst the three content areas of science, Macao’s 15-year-olds performed:

  • Best in “living systems”
  • Moderately well in “physical systems”
  • Less well in “earth and space systems”
macao 15 year olds performance in knowledge of science vs knowledge about science
Macao 15-year-olds performance in knowledge of science vs knowledge about science

Knowledge of science

Better Than

Knowledge about science

slide28
Amongst the 57 participating countries/economies, Macao’s mathematical literacy performance was statistically significantly above the OECD average, and Macao ranked between 7 and 11 on the mathematics scale.

In decreasing order of the mean of mathematical literacy score, countries/economies statistically significantly higher than Macao are: Chinese Taipei, Finland, Hong Kongand Korea.

Mathematics Literacy Results – from the International Perspective

reading literacy results from the international perspective
Reading Literacy Results – from the International Perspective
  • Amongst the 57 participating countries/economies, Macao’s reading literacy performance was not statistically significantly different from the OECD average, and Macao ranked between 18 and 22 on the reading scale.
  • In decreasing order of the mean of reading literacy score, countries/economies statistically significantly higher than Macao are: Korea, Finland, Hong Kong, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, Australia, Liechtenstein, Poland, Sweden, Netherlands, Belgium, Estonia andSwitzerland.
table 8 macao 15 year olds performance in science mathematics and reading in 2003 and 2006
Table 8: Macao 15-year-olds performance in science, mathematics and reading in 2003 and 2006

# Number of countries/economies participating in 2003 is 40, whereas this number increased to 57 in 2006.

* Major assessment domain on which assessment trend is to be charted on a three-yearly cycle

slide32
Table 10: Pearson correlation of quality science education indicators with scientific literacy performance scores
the ten science quality education indicators focusing on engagement in science
The ten science quality education indicators (focusing on engagement in science)

1. General interest in science

2. General value of science

3. Self-efficacy in science

4. Self-concept in science

5. Enjoyment of science

6. Instrumental motivation to learn science

7. Awareness of environmental issues

8. Concern for environmental issues

9. Optimism regarding environmental issues

10. Science-related activities

slide35

Part two of presentation:Relationships of literacy measures with ESCS (Economic, Social and Cultural Status of the home)

figure 5 plot of literacy performance with escs in the macao sample
Figure 5: Plot of literacy performance with ESCS in the Macao Sample

Mathematical Literacy

Scientific

Literacy

Reading

Literacy

figure 6 plot of scientific literacy subscale performance with escs in the macao sample
Figure 6: Plot of scientific literacy subscale performance with ESCS in the Macao Sample

Identifying Scientific Issues

Explaining Phenomena Scientifically

Using Scientific Evidence

figure 7 plot between school scientific literacy performance with escs
Figure 7: Plot between-school scientific literacy performance with ESCS

High-performing school

Average-performing school

Low-performing school

educational provisions excellence versus equity
Educational provisions: “Excellence” versus “Equity”
  • Amongst the 57 participating countries/economies, percentage of variance in performance in science explained by the PISA index of economic, social and cultural status of the home (ESCS) is the lowest.
  • The overall effect and between-school effect of ESCS on scientific literacy are also amongstthe lowest of all participating countries/economies.
educational provisions excellence versus equity40
Educational provisions: “Excellence” versus “Equity”
  • Hence, Macao’s basic educational system succeeds in providing equitable schooling opportunities for the student body it served.
  • The results indicate that Macao educational system not only achieves relatively high academic excellence, but also favorable equity in the distribution of educational opportunities.
issues of equity an insider s view
Issues of equity – An insider’s view
  • Children of higher ESCS not all can go to the high-performing schools, resulting in that there is a distribution of ESCS amongst the low-performing schools
  • Children of lower ESCS still have a relatively lower chance to study in the high-performing school
slide44
Table 13: Non-East Asian countries/economies having higher or comparable literacy performance than Macao

15

8

17

follow up study 1
Follow-up Study 1
  • By making full use of the student, school and system data, examine factors affecting excellence and equity in literacy performance in the three key domains for 15-year-olds in Macao.
  • Conditions, processes and contexts facilitative of literacy acquisition for the different types of schools and different kinds of students (e.g. students studying in single-sex versus co-educational schools) should be examined.
follow up study 2
Follow-up Study 2
  • By linking the literacy performance results with previous PISA 2003 Study data, chart the change in literacy performance in the three key domains.
  • Factors affecting growth and decline of literacy performance should be identified so as to guide educational improvement and curriculum reform.
follow up study 3
Follow-up Study 3
  • By comparing selected high performing East Asian with western countries/ economies, attempt to understand the similarities and differences pertaining to excellence in literacy performance for 15-year-olds in the three key domains.
follow up study 349
Follow-up Study 3
  • East Asian countries/economies such as Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, Japan, and Koreamay be compared with western countries such as Australia, Estonia, Finland, Canada, Ireland, Liechtenstein, New Zealand and Netherlands.
  • International comparisons can uncover the secrets of academic excellence of 15-year-olds students of the top five high-performing East Asian countries/economies.
concluding remark 1
Concluding Remark 1
  • Although the impact of ESCS on mathematical, scientific and reading literacy are not substantial, elevating homes of low ESCS to higher levels is still needed.
  • This is expected not only to bring about better educational opportunities and equitable educational results, but also can enhance the mathematical, scientific and reading literacy proficiency levels of the 15-year-olds in Macao.
slide51

Concluding Remark 2

  • In the PISA 2006 Study, Macao’s 15-year-olds achieve very well in mathematical, scientific and reading literacy. Admittedly, there is still ample room for an increase in the proportion of high-performing students.
  • PISA2009 Study results will indicate whether the apparent decline in scientific and reading literacy genuine or not.
slide52

Concluding Remark 3

  • It is heartening to learn that the proportion of low-performing students is low compared with other participating countries/economies.
  • Quite a large proportion of Macao’s 15-year-olds are still studying at grade 7 and 8.
  • If those low-performing students can be arranged for academic guidance and counseling with reference to the quality science education indicators, then it is expected their scientific literacy proficiency can be elevated accordingly.
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