What is PISA?

PISA measures 15-year-olds’ ability to use their science, reading and maths knowledge and skills to meet real-life challenges.

PISA 2018 participants

PISA 2018 participants

  • 79 Countries
  • 600 000 plus students worldwide
  • 14 273 Australian students
  • 740 Australian schools

How Australia compares

Reading
There were 10 countries/economies whose performance was significantly higher than Australia’s.
There were 9 countries/economies whose performance was at a similar level to Australia’s.
There were 58 countries/economies whose performance was significantly lower than Australia’s.
Maths
There were 23 countries/economies whose performance was significantly higher than Australia’s.
There were 8 countries/economies whose performance was at a similar level to Australia’s.
There were 47 countries/economies whose performance was significantly lower than Australia’s.
Science
There were 12 countries/economies whose performance was significantly higher than Australia’s.
There were 7 countries/economies whose performance was at a similar level to Australia’s.
There were 59 countries/economies whose performance was significantly lower than Australia’s.

Number of countries/economies

Legend for Science, Reading and Maths perfomanceSignificantly higher than Australia
legend for Science, Reading and Maths perfomanceAt a similar level to Australia
legend for Science, Reading and Maths perfomanceSignificantly lower than Australia*

* Based on available data (77 countries for reading and 78 for maths and science).

The top three highest performers across all domains in PISA 2018 were:

Beijing–Shanghai–Jiangsu–Zhejiang (China),
Singapore,
Macao (China).

Students achieving the National Proficient Standard - Level 3 or above

Reading
Australia - 59
B-S-J-Z (China) - 54
OECD average - 80
Maths
Australia - 54
B-S-J-Z (China) - 54
OECD average - 91
Science
Australia - 58
B-S-J-Z (China) - 52
OECD average - 90

Note: In Australia, students who scored at or above Level 3 achieve the National Proficient Standard.

B-S-J-Z (China) refers to participating provinces: Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang

Australian achievement gaps in equivalent years of schooling

By state/territory

In Science the achievement gap between the highest performing and lowest performing state was 1.5 years. In Reading the gap was 1.5 years, while in Maths it was 1 year.

By gender

In Science there was no difference between boys and girls. In Reading girls were 1 year ahead of boys, while in Maths there was no difference between boys and girls.

By wealth

In Science, Reading and Maths the achievement gap between the highest socioeconomic quartile and lowest socioeconomic quartile was 3 years.

By Indigenous status

In Science the gap between Non-indigenous and Indigenous students was 2.5 years. In Reading the gap was also 2.5 years, while in Maths the gap was 2.3 years.