Vietnamese students tumble in international ranking

By Thanh Hang   December 6, 2023 | 02:20 am PT
Vietnamese students tumble in international ranking
A group of school students in HCMC in 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Khoa
The latest results from PISA, one of the most prominent student-ranking organizations in the world, show Vietnamese students earned the lowest score since they were first ranked in 2012.

Vietnam stood 31st out of 81 for mathematics, 34nd in reading and 35nd in science in the 2022 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) ranking released on Tuesday by the 38 member-country Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Those are Vietnam's lowest ranks ever since the country entered the ranking in 2012.

Vietnamese students scored 469 in math, 462 in reading and 472 in science, which are 3-14 points lower than the average score of OECD nations.

The PISA rankings are released every three years by the OECD to produce comparable data on education policy and outcomes across countries, based on surveys on 15-year-old students. Due to Covid-19, the latest one was conducted for last year instead of 2021.

Compared to 2018, Vietnam's 2022 scores dropped 27 points in math, 43 in reading and 71 in science.

In terms of rankings, Vietnamese students are average in math, but below average in reading and science.

They dropped seven ranks and 14 ranks against 2018 and 2012 respectively in math, two and 21 ranks in reading, and 27 and 31 ranks in science.

Singapore took top ranking in the latest assessment. Macau, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea came next in mathematics, and also scored near the top in reading and science.

But decreasing scores is the general trend of PISA 2022 results.

Members of the OECD noted "an unprecedented decline in student performance" since the first PISA rankings in 2000. In total, 690,000 students from 81 countries and economies participated in the latest PISA initiative.

OECD countries recorded an average drop of 15 points from PISA 2018 in math, 11 points in reading and two in science, almost four points worse than the previous biggest decline.

Germany, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway and Poland all saw notably lower achievements in mathematics.

The latest PISA results came in an environment for education that "has changed profoundly," OECD Secretary-General Mathias Cormann was quoted in an AFP report.

Apart from Covid's impact on education, there had also been "a deepening digital transformation of our societies" since the previous report in 2018, he said.

Le Anh Vinh, head of Vietnam Institute of Educational Sciences, told a workshop in Hanoi on Wednesday that "all [countries] were affected by Covid-19, but were we affected more seriously?"

Asked about the reasons for Vietnam's low PISA rankings this year, he said there could be many reasons and he needs time to study the situation and discuss with people involved to give answers.

Despite the dropping PISA rankings, Vinh noted that there are still positive points in the general trend. For example, the score difference between groups of students in Vietnam is not large, which shows that Vietnam has, to some extent, ensured equal access to education for urban and rural students.

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