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Local students see improvement in int'l education assessment

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The mathematics and reading abilities of Taiwanese students are improving, announced the National Science Council (NSC, 國科會) and the Ministry of Education (MOE, 教育部) yesterday, according to the outcome of local students' performances in the 2012 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA, 國際學生能力評量計畫).

Compared to 2009, the outcome of the 2012 PISA showed an improvement in mathematics and reading abilities of Taiwanese students. There was a huge leap, especially in the reading section, which moved 15 places forward in the international rankings. The MOE suggested the improvement should be attributed to current reading policies which provide a better environment for students to develop their interest in reading.

In addition, Taiwanese students also performed well in mathematics. Ranking fourth in the world, mathematics performance improved by one notch compared to 2009 and surpassed the performances of South Korean students. However, there were several indicators suggesting an urban-rural gap in mathematics education. According to the MOE, additional after-school curricula may be needed to alter this situation in the future.

PISA is an international assessment conducted every three years since 2000. It is coordinated by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (經濟合作暨發展組織) to measure the abilities of 15-year-old students in reading, mathematics and science literacy. Besides these main subjects, PISA also evaluates students' performances for general or cross-curricular competencies such as problem-solving abilities.

There were in total 65 countries and economic entities participating in the 2012 PISA, involving 6,037 Taiwanese students and 163 local schools.

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