Key findings of PISA 2006
Finland, with an average of 563 score points, was the highest-performing country on the PISA 2006 science scale.
Six other high-scoring countries had mean scores of 530 to 542 points: Canada, Japan and New Zealand and the partner countries/economies Hong Kong-China, Chinese Taipei and Estonia. Australia, the Netherlands, Korea, Germany, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium and Ireland, and the partner countries/economies Liechtenstein, Slovenia and Macao-China also scored above the OECD average of 500 score points.
On average across OECD countries, 1.3% of 15-year-olds reached Level 6 of the PISA 2006 science scale, the highest proficiency level. These students could consistently identify, explain and apply scientific knowledge, and knowledge about science, in a variety of complex life situations. In New Zealand and Finland this figure was at least 3.9%, three times the OECD average. In the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan and Canada, as well as the partner countries/economies Liechtenstein, Slovenia and Hong Kong-China, between 2 and 3% reached Level 6.
The number of students at Level 6 cannot be reliably predicted from a country’s overall performance. Korea was among the highest-performing countries on the PISA science scale, with an average of 522 score points, while the United States performed below the OECD average, with a score of 489. Nevertheless, the United States and Korea had similar percentages of students at Level 6. At least Level 5. In Japan, Australia and Canada, and the partner economies Hong Kong-China and Chinese Taipei, this figure was between 14 and 16% (OECD average 9%). By contrast, 15 of the countries in the survey had fewer than 1% of students reaching either Level 5 or Level 6, and nearly 25 countries had 5% or fewer reaching the two highest levels.