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Resume: PISA is a worldwide study which measures the preparedness of 15 year-old students to handle their everyday challenges by using the knowledge and skills they acquired at school. PISA is administered by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). PISA has been administered since 2000 and measures knowledge in three domains: reading literacy, mathematical literacy and scientific literacy. Georgia took part in PISA twice, in 2009 and 2015.

In accordance with PISA 2009, the performance of Georgian students is statistically much lower as compared to the average results of OECD countries.The average number of points for Georgian students – 374 – in reading literacy is significantly lower than the PISA international average of 493 points. Nearly 38% of Georgian students is equal or lower to the minimum standard.

In PISA 2015, Georgia improved its performance and garnered 411 points although this still significantly lags behind the worldwide average of 493 points. In regard to reading literacy, Georgia is among the 41 countries where reading literacy achievements are far lower than that of the OECD average. Of the students who took part in the reading literacy test, half (52%) ended up in the low achievement group whilst only 1% of students were categorised in the high achievement group.

Analysis

United National Movement MP, Salome Samadashvili, spoke about challenges in the education field and stated: “In accordance with international assessments, I mean PISA assessments, today we even have challenges in literacy.”

FactCheck took interest in the accuracy of the statement.

FactCheck has already written about Georgia’s results in international assessments in the education field (see article 1, article 2 and article 3).

Since 2006, Georgia has taken part in several major international research studies on the education system. Of those, the most important assessments are as follows: Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS), Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), Teacher Education and Development Study in Mathematics (TEDS-m) and the Teaching and Learning International Survey.

Salome Samadashvili refers to PISA studies in her statement and based on PISA results, clarifies that reading and writing is a serious challenge among Georgian students. Therefore, the analysis in this article will be focused on PISA results.

PISA measures the preparedness of 15 year-old students to handle their everyday challenges by using the knowledge and skills they acquired at school. The study does not aim to assess student performance in the handling of the school curriculum per se but seeks to understand how well-prepared a student is for his active and full-fledged involvement in public life. PISA is administered by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

PISA has been administered since 2000 and measures knowledge in three domains: reading literacy, mathematical literacy and scientific literacy. PISA is administered every three years and for each new phase, one of the aforementioned three domains is given a priority. For instance, in the 2009-2010 study the priority was given to reading literacy whilst in 2012 emphasis was made on mathematical literacy and in 2015 on scientific literacy. Apart from the tests, as a part of PISA, students, parents and school principals fill out questionnaires which seek to identify the factors which influence student achievements.

Information based on PISA results has a significant impact upon the teaching and learning processes all over the world . Georgia took part in PISA twice, in 2009 and 2015. In 2012, Georgia did not take part in PISA. The Ministry of Education and Science has not stated the official reason as to why the country refused to take part in PISA. However, it is believed that because 2012 was an election year, PISA would have brought many problems in the country’s education system into the spotlight and this was something which was not exactly in the bestinterests of the then Government of Georgia.

Initially, 64 countries and administrative units took part in PISA 2009. However, a little later, as a part of the 2009+ projects, ten new participants including Georgia, were added.[1] The test was administered in Georgia in autumn 2009 and the full-scale research was undertaken in spring 2010.

The performance of Georgian students in all three domains – reading literacy, mathematical literacy and scientific literacy – is statistically much lower as compared to the average results of OECD countries. The average number of points for Georgian students – 374 – in reading literacy is significantly lower than the PISA international average of 493 points. With this result, Georgia is on par with students in Qatar, Peru and Panama. Of additional note is that the reading literacy of nearly 38% of Georgian students is equal or lower to the minimum standard which is necessary for efficient and productive reading. In regard to mathematical literacy, the average score for Georgian students was 379 which is also significantly lower as compared to the international average of 496 points.

The average score for Georgian students in science constitutes 373 which is similar to their scores in reading and mathematical literacy and is tremendously below the international average of 501 points. In science, nearly 34% of students have an elementary basic knowledge which corresponds to the minimum or subscale level.

The PISA 2009 results illustrate that the majority of Georgia’s students does not possess the skills which are necessary for full-fledged integration into society. Student knowledge and abilities are not sufficient for them to move to another level of education and are unsuitable vis-à-vis the goals given in the national curriculum. PISA has identified that school is unable to give students the knowledge and skills which are necessary for citizens of their age.

PISA 2015 was focused on scientific literacy. The participants of PISA 2009 were 540,000 students from 70 countries, including 5,800 students, 5,198 parents and 261 school principals from Georgia.

In PISA 2015, Georgia improved its performance and garnered 411 points although this still significantly lags behind the worldwide average of 493 points. In regard to reading literacy, Georgia is among the 41 countries where reading literacy achievements are far lower than that of the OECD average. Georgia’s ranking position is within the range of 59-64. Of the students who took part in the reading literacy test, half (52%) ended up in the low achievement group whilst only 1% of students were categorised in the high achievement group.

Despite the improved performance, PISA also illustrated that Georgian students lag behind students of most of the world’s countries and do not possess necessary skills.



[1] Georgia, Costa Rica, two states of India – Himachal Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, Malaysia, Mauritania, Miranda (Venezuela), Moldova and the UAE.