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NZ's Top Students Among The World's Best, Report Says

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NZ's Top Students Among The World's Best, Report Says

New Zealand's top students are among the best in the world, but there is still a disproportionate number of lower achievers here, according to a new international study.

The 2009 results from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), released late yesterday, showed only four of the 65 participating countries achieved better reading and science results than New Zealand. In mathematics only 10 countries achieved better than New Zealand.

In reading, the report found girls outperformed boys in every participating country and, although New Zealand students' overall reading performance was substantially higher than the average, the gap between the sexes here was the greatest.

PISA also showed that New Zealand still had a disproportionate number of lower achievers and that there had been no change in reading performance since 2000 or in maths since 2003.

Maori and Pasifika students were over-represented at the low end of the reading, science and maths results.

Ministry of Education spokeswoman Mary Chamberlain said this highlighted the need to offer more support to school leaders and teachers to help raise achievement for all students.

The report also showed that New Zealand students were particularly good at reading non-continuous texts, such as graphs and tables. They also performed well above average in reading prose.

"These results show that teachers are doing a fantastic job and should be congratulated for the quality of their work and the commitment they make to students," Ms Chamberlain said.

Education Minister Anne Tolley said New Zealand had a lot to be proud of "as this study confirms our top students are among the best in the world".

But she was concerned about New Zealand's disproportionate number of lower achievers.

"Further, there has been no change in our reading performance since 2000 and in maths since 2003," Mrs Tolley said.

"All children deserve the chance to reach their potential so there is an urgent need to lift achievement levels and raise the bar for our young people."

Mrs Tolley said the new National Standards in reading, writing and maths were helping to identify and provide support for primary and intermediate students and schools needing additional help.

In New Zealand, 4643 students from 163 schools took part.

The study compared the performance of 475,000 15-year-olds from 65 countries in reading literacy, maths and science.

NZPA 

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