PISA – the Programme for International Student Assessment – is a study which is carried out once every three years by the OECD. PISA does not assess the pupils’ competences based on year groups or on specific national curricula, but instead compares pupils of the same age across school systems in the participating countries in terms of how well they use their skills in relation to selected texts from real life.
PISA is conducted in Denmark by a consortium consisting of KORA (the National Institute for Local and Regional Government Analysis), SFI (the Danish National Centre for Social Research), and the Danish School of Education, Aarhus University.
The results of PISA 2012 were published on 3 December 2013. The study showed that Denmark was in general maintaining its position compared with the PISA study conducted three years previously. We had made a little progress in reading, but scored slightly worse in mathematics and science. The Danish pupils were still slightly above the international average in mathematics, but the number of pupils who performed poorly in mathematics had increased and the number of top scores had decreased.
5,924 pupils from Denmark participated in PISA 2009. The participants were divided between 285 educational institutions, with pupils from state schools, basic independent schools and continuation schools as well as a few students from upper-secondary schools participating. The Danish pupils’ reading and science skills were still close to the average for OECD countries; while their level in mathematics, despite some decline, was still above the OECD average. This was shown by the figures from the PISA study in 2009, in which 400,000 pupils from 65 countries took part.
Danish pupils are below the OECD average with regard to electronic reading. The other Nordic countries score better: Sweden and Iceland are above the OECD average, while Norway is average. Finland did not take part in the ERA test.
Danish pupils are much better at reading on paper. If equal weight is attached to the two types of reading (paper-based and electronic) and a combined score is calculated to reflect the total reading competence of pupils, the Danish pupils are below the OECD average even though they achieve an average OECD score in terms of paper-based reading.
Pupils from immigrant families still perform poorly in Denmark. PISA Ethnic 2009 reveals big differences between immigrant and native pupils. Read more about the significance of the composition of pupils in schools and their reading skills, home background and school conditions.
PISA Northern Lights IV studies the reading skills of 15-year-olds in the Nordic countries: Denmark, the Faroe Islands, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. The report also studies differences in reading skills between boys and girls, reading skills in children who are poor readers, and differences in reading skills between native speakers and immigrant pupils. PISA Northern Lights IV also provides a summary of the development of school systems and school reforms over the past 20 years in the Nordic countries. Finally, the authors attempt to connect developments in the reading results in the Nordic countries with specific political initiatives and social changes in general.