4 Dec 2007
PISA: Impressive result for NZ science teachers
The latest international survey results show New Zealand students are getting excellent value out of their secondary
science teachers, PPTA president Robin Duff says.
The 2006 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) competency tests released this week ranked Kiwi teens
seventh out of 57 countries when it came to performance in science.
PISA is a three yearly survey of the knowledge and skills of 15-year-olds in OECD countries, with the 2006 tests
particularly focusing on applying scientific concepts to real life.
Despite an analysis of the report showing more prosperous countries tended to do better on the tests, New Zealand has
bucked the trend.
“The relative prosperity of some countries allows them to spend more on education, while other countries find themselves
constrained by a relatively lower national income,” the report says.
However the PISA 2006 results show New Zealand significantly outperforming a number of countries with a higher national
Mr Duff believes this is a testimony to the value New Zealand students are getting from their secondary teachers.
“We see these results as an endorsement of the hard work our teachers are putting in and the way they are engaging with
“NCEA also has to be given some credit for this result,” he said.
“More practical work, internal and developmental assessment places a much greater focus on teaching and learning and
gives students more control over their education”.
“Sadly there is a growing shortage of science teachers in this country and without government support and appreciation
for the vital role they play, results like this may not continue”.
Mr Duff believed reduced class sizes, increased contributions to professional development and improved resourcing for
schools and teachers would produce even better results.
The top 10 scoring countries were: Finland, Hong Kong-China, Canada, Chinese Taipei, Estonia, Japan, New Zealand,
Australia, Netherlands and Liechtenstein.