Wednesday, December 15, 2004

:: Best Science and Maths Students - SINGAPORE!::

The local media reported on how Singapore students are the best in maths and science. Guess it is good to read from other nation's perspective.

Japanese students' science levels slip

Japanese pupils' science skills, once regarded as the best in the world, have declined in recent years, according to an international assessment of student abilities.

In 2003, average scores dropped from five years ago for both fourth graders and pupils in their second year of junior high school, according to the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study.

News of the decline comes following last week's disclosure of results of an Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development test that showed Japanese first-year high school students in 2003 had showed a marked drop in reading ability from three years earlier.

Education Minister Nariaki Nakayama pledged to rectify Japan's slumping school standards.

"Results of the two international comparative surveys indicate declines in achievements by the children of our country. Students certainly cannot be said to be at the world's top levels," the minister said.

"We must acknowledge the results and take measures accordingly," a ministry bureaucrat said.

TIMMS tested 116,951 elementary pupils from 25 countries or territories and 224,503 junior high school students from 46 countries or territories. Results were scaled so that the average score was 500 points.

Japanese fourth grade pupils scored 543 points for science, a drop of 10 points from the previous survey in 1999 and slipped from the second to third highest score in the world.

Junior high school pupils dropped from 579 points to 570 points, but remained in fifth place overall.

In 1999 and 1995, junior high school pupils dropped 2 points in math skills. At the time, however, the Education Ministry was not alarmed, saying the 2-point decline fell within the study's margin of error.

Exceptional students also declined, with the 29 percent who topped 625 points in 1999 falling to 24 percent by last year. The number of pupils falling below 550 points rose from 34 percent to 38 percent.

Elementary school pupils also showed lower standards, with the number of pupils scoring below 550 points rising from 46 percent to 51 percent and the number of pupils above that score falling from 54 percent to 49 percent.

Singapore's students scored the best results in all subjects for either year surveyed. Finland, which topped half the OECD polls, did not take part in the TIMMS survey. (Mainichi Shimbun, Japan, Dec. 15, 2004)

No comments: