Chinese students smarter than the rest

China’s rise in economic and political terms have bene well documented with a mountain of analysis on what it should and shouldn’t do with its new found might. Now, we have one more thing to add to that list… Education, thanks to the release of the 2009 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) results.

2009 PISA results analysed by NYT

2009 was the first year that Mainland China took part in, an assessment distributed by Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and in doing so, it blew the competition away. The study consists of a standardized test of students aged 15 in all the countries involved. It is an authoritative study conducted and released every three years.

In previous years, Finland and Singapore often shared the lead with Hong Kong fighting for a bite of the pie. But the results that were released today showed Shanghai on top of all other countries, ranking 1st in Science, Reading and Math. In doing so, it beat out traditional powerhouses Finland, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Hong Kong came third in science and math behind Finland and Singapore respectively. In Reading, Hong Kong had to settle for fourth behind Korea and Finland. Thankfully, although Singapore beat Hong Kong in math, it came behind Hong Kong in both science and reading.

OECD secretary general, Angel Gurria, said in the report “The stunning success of Shanghai-China, which tops every league table in this assessment by a clear margin, shows what can be achieved with moderate economic resources and in a diverse social context.”

While questions remain over whether other cities in China will be able to produce the same stunning results at this point in time, I have little doubt that the country will eventually reach a similar level overall.


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