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Nearly 4 in 5 Australian students ‘didn’t fully try’ on latest international tests – 20% feel like outsiders at school

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Australian students are now almost two years behind their counterparts from the early 2000s, 77% admitted not trying their hardest in the latest PISA tests, and one in five feels like an outsider at school.

Randomly sampled 15-year-olds from around Australia performed worse than ever on reading and mathematics in the 2022 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), while science scores were higher than in 2018, but lower than in 2015.

Forthcoming OECD data provided to Save Our Schools shows 77% of Australian teenagers reported they “did not fully try” – 4% higher than in 2018 and the equal 4th highest in the world.

Denmark (81%), Sweden (80%), Germany (80%), Switzerland (80%) and Belgium (78%) had a higher proportion, while Australia had the same proportion as Singapore, the UK, Norway and Austria.

The OECD average was 71%, New Zealand’s was 73%, while only 66% of American students and 63% of Japanese teens did not make their best effort. Students from South Korea, Colombia and Turkey made the most effort, with 50%, 48%, and 47% respectively not fully trying.

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China did not report PISA scores for 2022 due to Covid.

81% of Australian female students reported not fully trying, compared to 71% of males.

Save Our Schools did not provide data on Aboriginal students, who performed worse than non-Indigenous students and returned poorer results than ever, according to PISA.

Published PISA data also showed that 30% of Australian students do not feel they belong in school, the equal highest out of 30 OECD countries.

21.1% said they feel like an outsider or left out of things at school, while 22.1% don’t make friends easily at school, and 25% feel awkward and out of place.

Source: PISA

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