Lessons from Pisa ranking

In the midst of heated discussions of how we should tweak our education system, the Pisa test results offer a glimpse of how we are doing relative to our international peers.

The test dispelled several pre-conceived notions that are widely held.

First, the need to engage students through the use of the Internet. Perhaps, the use of electronic pads is over-rated. The devices may prove too faddish and distract learners from the content.

Contrary to what many believe, tuition does not help. It calls for a targeted approach in helping our young learn better. What is encouraging is that the study shows good results come after hard work and determination. We need to instil discipline in our young to take learning seriously.

Students from Asian countries top the maths test, which is not surprising given how we drill our students .

What is encouraging is that the study shows good results come after hard work and determination. We need to instil discipline in our young to take learning seriously.

But what is strange is that many Nobel laureates of Science and Mathematics hail from countries that have not topped the rankings.

Perhaps, we could do a longitudinal study to track the progress of these excellent Asian maths students to see where and when they drop out.

We must be mindful that no test is perfect. The Pisa Test does not measure creativity, motor learning and emotional intelligence, among others. It does not predict how successful a child will be in adult life.

Lee Teck Chuan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 09, 2016, with the headline 'Lessons from Pisa ranking'. Print Edition | Subscribe