#### Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2003:

Initial Report on Scotland's Performance in Mathematics, Science and Reading

**Graham Thorpe **

The SCRE Centre, University of Glasgow

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This report is a publication of the research group within Information, Analysis and Communication Division, which is responsible for providing analytical services within the Scottish Executive Education Department (SEED). Their work is part of a multidisciplinary unit (consisting of researchers, economists and statistics staff) and the staff undertakes and funds economic analysis and social research in the fields of: school education; children, young people and social work: architecture; and tourism, culture and sport.

The views expressed in this report are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the Scottish Executive or any other organisation(s) by whom the author(s) is or are employed.

##### Contents

Executive summary

Introduction

Student Proficiency in Mathematical Literacy

Student Proficiency in Reading Literacy

Student Proficiency in Scientific Literacy

Chapter 1: Introduction

Design of PISA 2003

PISA 2003 International Report

PISA in Scotland

The Scottish Report

Trends in Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) 2003

Domestic Survey of Attainment

Chapter 2: Student Proficiency in Mathematical Literacy

How Mathematical Literacy is Defined

How Mathematical Literacy was Assessed in PISA 2003

Four Content Areas

Process

Situation

How the Mathematical Literacy Results are Reported

Summary of Mathematics Results for the OECD and for Scotland

Proficiency Levels

Table 2.1. Percentage of students at each level of proficiency on the mathematics literacy scale

Figure 2.a. Percentage of students at each level of proficiency on the combined mathematics scale Mean Scores in Mathematics Literacy

Table 2.2. Student performance on the mathematics scale, all students and by gender

Table 2.3: OECD countries whose mean scores differ significantly from the Scottish mean, or do not differ significantly from this.

Changes in Mean Scores in Mathematics Between PISA 2000 and PISA 2003 Space and Shape

Figure 2.b. Differences in scores between PISA 2000 and PISA 2003 on the mathematics *space & shape* scale

Change and Relationships

Figure 2.c. Differences in scores between PISA 2000 and PISA 2003 on the mathematics *change & relationships* scale Gender Differences in Mathematical Literacy

Figure 2.d. Gender differences in mathematics mean score (score difference in favour of males)

Figure 2.e. Mathematics combined results scale: comparison of male and female student attainment for OECD and Scotland

Mathematical Literacy in PISA 2003 - Attainment in the Four Broad Content Areas

Table 2.4: Mean score and proportion of students reaching top three proficiency levels for each content area

Table 2.5. Student performance on mathematics sub-scales, country mean scores

Table 2.6. Number of OECD countries with mean scores

Variation in Combined Mathematics Scores Between Low and High Achievers

Figure 2.f. Difference in mathematics combined score between students at the 25th and 75th percentile levels of attainment

Chapter 3: Student Proficiency in Reading Literacy

How Reading Literacy is Defined

How Reading Literacy was Assessed in PISA 2003

How the Reading Literacy Results are Reported

Summary of Reading Results for the OECD and Scotland.

Proficiency Levels

Table 3.1. Percentage of students at each level of proficiency on the reading literacy scale

Figure 3.a. Percentage of students proficient at each level of reading literacy

Mean Scores in Reading Literacy

Table 3.2. Student performance on the reading scale, all students and by gender

Table 3.3. OECD countries whose mean scores differ significantly from the Scottish mean.

Changes in Mean Scores in Reading between PISA 2000 and PISA 2003

Figure 3.b. Differences in scores between PISA 2000 and PISA 2003 on the reading scale

Scores in Reading for Students at Various Percentile Levels of Attainment

Table 3.4: Scores attained by students at the lower end of the ability scale in reading literacy in PISA 2000 and PISA 2003

Gender Differences in Reading

Figure 3.c. Gender differences in mean score in reading literacy (score difference in favour of males)

Variation in Reading Scores Between Low and High Achievers.

Figure 3.d. Difference in reading literacy scores between students at the 25th and 75th percentile levels of attainment

Chapter 4: Student Proficiency in Scientific Literacy

How Scientific Literacy is Defined

How Scientific Literacy was Assessed in PISA 2003

How the Scientific Literacy Results are Reported

Summary of Science Results for the OECD and Scotland

Mean Scores in Scientific Literacy

Table 4.1. Student performance on the science scale, all students and by gender

Table 4.2. OECD countries whose mean scores differ significantly from the Scottish mean

Changes in Mean Scores in Science Between PISA 2000 and PISA 2003

Scores in Science for Students at Various Percentile Levels of Attainment

Figure 4.a. Differences in scores between PISA 2000 and PISA 2003 on the science scale

Gender Differences in Science Literacy

Figure 4.b. Gender differences in mean score in science literacy (score difference in favour of males)

Variation in Science Scores Between Low and High Achievers

Figure 4.3. Difference in science literacy scores between students at the 25th and 75th percentile levels of attainment

Appendix A Results for the United Kingdom.

Appendix B Summary Proficiency Level Descriptors for Mathematical Literacy

Appendix C Summary Proficiency Level Descriptors For Reading Literacy

References

##### Acknowledgements

The author would like to thank Liz Levy, Information, Analysis & Communication Division (IAC) for editing, checking data and providing some additional analysis; and Rik Kay (IAC) for assembling and formatting the report. Both the SCRE Centre and the Scottish Executive Education Department express their gratitude to the schools and individuals who took part in the PISA 2003 as mentioned in the Introduction.

Copyright © December 2004, Scottish Executive Education Department

A limited number of additional copies may be obtained from the Dissemination Officer, Information, Analysis and Communication Division, Scottish Executive Education Department, Victoria Quay, Edinburgh EH6 6QQ (telephone 0131-244-0316) or e-mail recs.admin@scotland.gsi.gov.uk. Copies of this report and our other education research publications can be downloaded from the main Scottish Executive website "Publications" page and also from our web section for education research www.scotland.gov.uk/insight/