Kazakhstan outperforms Australian students in maths and science rankings


However astonishing it may sound but a study suggests that in the latest international maths and science rankings Australian students have plummeted and countries such as Cyprus, Slovenia and Kazakhstan have leapfrogged them over the past four years.

The latest Trends in International Science and Mathematics depicts that Australia has dropped from 18th to 28th out of 49 countries in year 4 mathematics.

Australia fell from 12th to 17th in year 8 science and 12th to 17th in year 8 maths

Australia fell from 12th to 17th in year 8 maths and from 12th to 17th in year 8 science while remaining steady at 25th place in year 4 science.

Education minister hinted that the disappointing results would form a key part of discussions with the states and territories about school funding.

Since 1995, the 630,000-strong study has been conducted every four years.

Sue Thomson, director of educational monitoring and research at the Australian Council for Education Research, told that we are clearly “slipping backward” and the results were a “wake-up call”.

Dr. Thomson pointed out that for the past 20 years Australia has remained in the middle of the pack when other countries are improving. Adding to the disappointment is the fact that a substantial proportion of our students are below the Australian proficient standard, with roughly half of the students in remote areas at or below that level.

“Clearly we have a problem”

Dr.Thomson asserted that the results were particularly concerning as an increasing number of jobs require engineering, science, technology and mathematics (STEM) skills.

While Australia’s results have dropped since 2007, high-performing countries such as South Korea and Singapore continue to pull ahead. Meanwhile, countries such as England and Canada have bettered their results and now outperform Australia.

When a developing country like Kazakhstan outperforms Australian students in math and science rankings, it can be safely concluded that Australia has to toil diligently to improve worsening condition of education in the country.