NEW RESEARCH! The UNICEF Regional Office for CEE/CIS has published a new report on the situation of equity in learning outcomes in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia based on the 2009 results from the Programme on International Student Assessment (PISA).
Education systems in the focus countries of the report are confronted with major obstacles to achieving successful outcomes for school quality and learning, such as inequalities in learning outcomes, commonly stratified by socio-economic status. Since the publication in 2009 of the study Learning Achievement in the CEE/CIS Region, which was commissioned by the UNICEF Regional Office for CEE/CIS, new data on educational outcomes in the region have become available. In particular, the most recent results of PISA − a large-scale international assessment conducted by the OECD − provide an excellent opportunity for analysing not only the quality and relevance of basic education in this region, but also equity issues, including new countries and trends over time. This study is based mainly on results as published by the OECD in the several volumes on PISA 2009 Results.
PISA is an ongoing triennial survey launched by the OECD in order to assess students’ ‘preparedness for adult life’ as they near the end of secondary education, and evaluate ‘the quality, equity and efficiency of school systems’. PISA measures the performance of 15-year-old students in three core competencies: reading, mathematics and science, and has thus far been administered four times, in 2000, 2003, 2006 and 2009. In each year, PISA measured students’ overall performance in the three competencies and conducted an in-depth investigation of students’ skills in one of the three subjects. In the last run (2009) the main focus was on reading, as it was in PISA’s first edition, in 2000; PISA 2003 focused on mathematics, and PISA 2006, on science.
In total, 65 countries participated in PISA 2009. Ten additional participants administered the same assessments in 2010 (within the PISA 2009 plus project). This study focuses primarily on the 13 focus participating countries with which UNICEF had a Programme of Cooperation in education in 2009: Albania, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Croatia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, the Russian Federation, Serbia and Turkey. Compared with the last PISA edition (2006), four more UNICEF-programme countries participated in the 2009 survey. Kazakhstan participated for the first time in 2009. Albania did not participate in 2003 and 2006, but did participate in PISA 2000. Georgia and Moldova participated for the first time in 2010 within the PISA 2009 plus project. For the purpose of comparison, results of the eight EU countries that became member states of the EU in 2004 – the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia – are also presented. The OECD average is used as a benchmark. Since the last round of PISA, four new countries have joined the OECD: Chile, Estonia, Israel and Slovenia