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Taiwan places fourth in math: OECD assessment

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Mathematics remains one of the strengths of Taiwanese students, according to an assessment conducted under the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Taiwan PISA National Center head Hung Pi-hsia (洪碧霞) yesterday held a press conference at the National University of Tainan (台南大學) and announced the results of the latest edition of PISA.

Taiwanese students placed fourth in mathematics behind Shanghai, Singapore and Hong Kong.

PISA, the Programme for International Student Assessment, started in 2000 and is held every three years. Taiwan began taking part in the assessment in 2006.

A total of 65 countries and economies took part in the latest edition of PISA, involving more than 510,000 students. A total of 6,037 Taiwanese students from 163 different junior high schools and vocational schools took part in the assessment.

The latest assessment was primarily focused on mathematics with secondary focuses on science and reading. In 2006, Taiwan took first place in mathematics but slid to fifth place in 2009. In the latest assessment, Taiwan placed fourth, climbing one place higher.

In terms of science, Taiwan placed fourth in 2006, slid to 12th in 2009 and landed at 16th in 2012.

In terms of reading, Taiwan climbed to eighth place from 16th in 2006 and 23rd in 2009.

In the category of problem solving, the first to seventh places were all taken by Asian countries and economies, namely Singapore, South Korea, Japan, Macau, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Taiwan, respectively.

Hung said that Taiwanese students performed well in mathematics, but the performances between individuals varied greatly, especially in terms of male students.

Approximately 9.8 percent of local students performed below average in science, Hung said, adding that active measures need to be taken to improve the situation.

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