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PISA: Finland only country where girls top boys in science

According to the newest PISA global education survey results, Finland is the only country in which girls are more likely than boys to be top performers in science. Overall, Finnish youth rank fifth best in the world in the newest PISA survey which was released on Tuesday.

Koulun kello.
Image: Toni Pitkänen / Yle

The new PISA global education survey results released Tuesday rank Finnish youth as the fifth best in the world, which is one place up from their previous ranking of sixth.

Finnish girls were listed second best in science when compared to students in other OECD countries -- Finnish boys on the other hand were ranked tenth.

Science gender gap

"Gender differences in science tend to be smaller than in reading and mathematics but, on average, in 33 countries and economies, the share of top performers in science is larger among boys than girls. Finland is the only country in which girls are more likely to be top performers than boys," according to the OECD report, which evaluates the quality, equity, and efficiency of school systems.

For the OECD’s PISA 2015, about 540,00 fifteen-year-olds from 72 countries and economies were tested on science, reading, maths and collaborative problem-solving. The main focus was, however, on science, “an increasingly important part of today’s economy and society,” according to the OECD.

While Singapore topped the list in the OECD’s latest PISA survey, Finland is in the top five along with Japan, Estonia, and Canada.

Every country has room for improvement

“A decade of scientific breakthroughs has failed to translate into breakthroughs in science performance in schools,” said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria, who launched the report in London on Tuesday. “Every country has room for improvement, even the top performers. With high levels of youth unemployment, rising inequality, a significant gender gap, and an urgent need to boost inclusive growth in many countries, more must be done to ensure every child has the best education possible.”

The survey also found that how much time students spent learning and how science is taught has a direct impact on science performance and pursuing a science-related career versus how well-equipped and staffed a science department is.

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