Sharing by the Ministry of Education on PISA and TIMSS 2015 Ranking Results

Sharing by the Ministry of Education on PISA and TIMSS 2015 Ranking Results

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

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In the recent international benchmarking tests, students in Singapore have outperformed their peers from many developed and developing countries in the subjects of Mathematics and Science. These ranking results have attracted global attention to the education policies and practices in Singapore.

The Ministry of Education (MOE)’s Research and Evaluation Branch (REB) held a sharing session at  NIE on 3 January 2017 to share on the methodology and key findings of two international benchmarking tests namely, Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) conducted in 2015. A total of 43 NIE researchers and staff attended the sharing session.

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Mr Ivan Lim sharing on the methodology and key findings for PISA 2015 results.

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Dr Poon Chew Leng sharing on the methodology and key findings for TIMSS 2015 results.

Singapore students have shown steady improvements in critical thinking skills and displayed strong performance in application of their knowledge to unfamiliar real-life situations, said Mr Ivan Lim, Senior Research Analyst of REB.

Dr Poon Chew Leng, Divisional Director of Research & Management Information and Principal Specialist of Research and Curriculum at MOE mentioned there seemed to be a noticeable relationship between curriculum revisions and students’ performance in these surveys. The curriculum in Singapore had undergone two rounds of revisions. After syllabuses were trimmed by MOE, knowing scores dropped but applying and reasoning scores improved, with the latter being deemed as important life skills that will equip students for challenges of the 21st century workplace.

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Question and Answer Session

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Question and Answer Session

During the question and answer session with Dr Poon, it was pointed out that what happened in classrooms could have contributed to the development of higher order thinking skills. According to reports from PISA and TIMSS 2015, the support given by teachers was crucial in creating a positive learning environment for Singapore students.

Mr Lim said that in the recent PISA report, more than eight out of 10 Singapore students stated that their teachers were willing to go the extra mile when they needed it. This implied that behind students’ successes were teachers who were well-equipped with foundational knowledge and a determination to bring out the best in their students.

The performance in these international benchmark tests provided an external perspective on how Singapore’s educational system has been performing on the global scale. The tests have reflected that the effective implementation of pedagogies, the quality of Singapore teachers and the efforts to ensure that the curriculum stays up to date play a part in preparing students for the demands of the future.

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Group photo.