Maltese students below OECD average in maths, reading and science

Only 64% of Maltese students attain basic level of proficiency in reading, 10 points below OECD average

Students in Malta have scored less than the OECD average in mathematics, reading and science in the latest PISA assessment of 15-year-olds.

The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) assesses the knowledge and skills of 15-year-old students in maths, reading and science, exploring how well students can solve complex problems, think critically and communicate effectively.

In Malta, 3,127 students, in 46 schools, completed the assessment in mathematics, reading or science. Students took two hour-long tests, each devoted to one subject.

The PISA gives insights into how well education systems are preparing students for real life challenges and future success.

The results of Malta’s 2022 assessment were about the same as in 2018 for mathematics and reading, but since 2012 the data has neither shown improvement nor deterioration. Yet in mathematics, the most recent results are worse than in 2015, but in line with results from 2012.

A smaller proportion of students in Malta, than on average across OECD countries, were top performers (Level 5 or 6) in at least one subject. At the same time a smaller proportion of students than on average across OECD countries achieved a minimum level of proficiency (Level 2 or higher) in all three subjects.

In Malta, 67% of students attained at least Level 2 proficiency in maths (OECD average 69%) – this would mean they are able to recognise how a simple situation can be represented mathematically, for example by comparing the total distance across two alternative routes, or converting prices into a different currency.

But over 85% of students in Singapore, Macao (China), Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Estonia performed at this level or above.

Some 7% of students in Malta were top performers in mathematics, meaning that they attained Level 5 or 6 in the PISA test (OECD: 9%). At these levels, students can model complex situations mathematically.

In reading, 64% of students in Malta attained Level 2 or higher – well below the OECD average of 74%. At a minimum, these students can identify the main idea in a text of moderate length. Then, 4% of students scored at Level 5 or higher (OECD: 7%), which means they can comprehend lengthy texts, and establish distinctions between fact and opinion, based on implicit cues.

In science, 70% of students in Malta attained Level 2 or higher (OECD: 76%). 5% were top performers in science (OECD average: 7%).