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Science Literacy: Proficiency Levels


High and Low Performers

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Figure S2a. Percentage of 15-year-old students performing at PISA science literacy proficiency levels below level 2 and levels 5 and above, by education system: 2015

data in this figure can be found in the table below

Below level 2 Below level 2
Level 5 and above Level 5 and above
# Rounds to zero.
! Interpret data with caution. Estimate is unstable due to high coefficient of variation (>30 percent and ≤50 percent).
‡ Reporting standards not met due to coefficient of variation over 50 percent.
* p<.05. Significantly different from the U.S. percentage at the .05 level of statistical significance.
NOTE: Education systems are ordered by 2015 percentages of 15-year-olds in levels 5 and above. To reach a particular proficiency level, a student must correctly answer a majority of items at that level. Students were classified into science proficiency levels according to their scores. Exact cut scores are as follows: level 2 and below (a score less than or equal to 484.14); level 5 and above (a score greater than 633.33). Scores are reported on a scale from 0 to 1,000. The OECD average is the average of the national percentages of the OECD member countries, with each country weighted equally. Italics indicate non-OECD countries and education systems. B-S-J-G (China) refers to the four PISA participating China provinces: Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu, and Guangdong. Results for Massachusetts and North Carolinaare for public school students only. Although Argentina, Malaysia, and Kazakhstan participated in PISA 2015, technical problems with their samples prevent results from being discussed in this report. This figure corresponds to figure 2 in Performance of U.S. 15-Year-Old Students in Science, Mathematics, and Reading Literacy in an International Context (NCES 2017-048).
SOURCE: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), 2015.

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Table S2b. Percentage of 15-year-old students performing at PISA science literacy proficiency levels below level 2 and levels 5 and above, by education system: 2015
Education system Below
level 2
  Levels 5
and above
  Education system Below
level 2
  Levels 5
and above
Percent s.e.   Percent s.e.   Percent s.e.   Percent s.e.
OECD average 21.2   0.17   7.7   0.09   Russian Federation 18.2   1.12   3.7 * 0.40
Singapore 9.6 * 0.40   24.2 * 0.60   Slovak Republic 30.7 * 1.10   3.6 * 0.37
Chinese Taipei 12.4 * 0.79   15.4 * 1.08   Bulgaria 37.9 * 1.88   2.9 * 0.44
Japan 9.6 * 0.70   15.3 * 1.04   United Arab Emirates 41.8 * 1.11   2.8 * 0.21
Finland 11.5 * 0.69   14.3 * 0.65   Buenos Aires (Argentina) 22.7   2.41   2.7 * 0.77
B-S-J-G (China) 16.2 * 1.29   13.6 * 1.38   Greece 32.7 * 1.88   2.1 * 0.31
Estonia 8.8 * 0.65   13.5 * 0.73   Qatar 49.8 * 0.47   1.7 * 0.16
New Zealand 17.4 * 0.90   12.8 * 0.70   Cyprus 42.1 * 0.82   1.6 * 0.23
Canada 11.1 * 0.53   12.4 * 0.61   Trinidad and Tobago 45.8 * 0.80   1.4 * 0.23
Australia 17.6 * 0.56   11.2 * 0.45   Uruguay 40.8 * 1.13   1.3 * 0.23
Netherlands 18.5   0.97   11.1 * 0.58   Chile 34.8 * 1.18   1.2 * 0.19
United Kingdom 17.4 * 0.80   10.9 * 0.67   Georgia 50.8 * 1.28   0.9 * 0.21
Korea, Republic of 14.4 * 0.91   10.6 * 0.80   Moldova, Republic of 42.2 * 1.11   0.7 * 0.16
Slovenia 15.0 * 0.50   10.6 * 0.57   Romania 38.5 * 1.81   0.7 * 0.19
Germany 17.0 * 0.95   10.6 * 0.61   Brazil 56.6 * 1.08   0.7 * 0.13
Switzerland 18.5   1.06   9.8   0.65   Montenegro, Republic of 51.0 * 0.66   # *
Macau (China) 8.1 * 0.41   9.2   0.48   Thailand 46.7 * 1.48   # !*
Belgium 19.8   0.90   9.0   0.43   Lebanon 62.6 * 1.74   # !*
United States 20.3   1.07   8.5   0.64   Albania 41.7 * 1.68   # !*
Sweden 21.6   1.15   8.5   0.72   Colombia 49.0 * 1.32   # *
Vietnam 5.9 * 0.76   8.3   1.22   Turkey 44.5 * 2.10   # !*
France 22.1   0.86   8.0   0.53   Macedonia, Republic of 62.9 * 0.76   # !*
Norway 18.7   0.81   8.0   0.53   Jordan 49.8 * 1.44   # !*
Austria 20.8   0.96   7.7   0.55   Peru 58.5 * 1.40   # !*
Malta 32.5 * 0.77   7.6   0.48   Mexico 47.8 * 1.29   # !*
Portugal 17.4 * 0.92   7.4   0.51   Costa Rica 46.4 * 1.23    
Hong Kong (China) 9.4 * 0.75   7.4   0.65   Indonesia 56.0 * 1.65    
Poland 16.3 * 0.85   7.3   0.63   Tunisia 65.9 * 1.26    
Czech Republic 20.7   1.00   7.3   0.51   Algeria 70.8 * 1.42    
Ireland 15.3 * 0.96   7.1   0.47   Dominican Republic 85.7 * 1.12    
Denmark 15.9 * 0.83   7.0   0.63   Kosovo 67.7 * 1.08    
Luxembourg 25.9 * 0.71   6.9 * 0.40                  
Israel 31.4 * 1.36   5.8 * 0.46                  
Spain 18.3   0.80   5.0 * 0.38                  
Hungary 26.0 * 1.04   4.6 * 0.47                  
Lithuania 24.7 * 1.07   4.2 * 0.50                  
Italy 23.2 * 1.02   4.1 * 0.38   U.S. states and territories              
Croatia 24.6 * 1.18   3.9 * 0.39   Massachusetts 12.0 * 1.38   14.2 * 1.68
Latvia 17.2 * 0.75   3.8 * 0.36   North Carolina 18.0   1.60   9.2   0.97
Iceland 25.3 * 0.87   3.8 * 0.39   Puerto Rico 55.3 * 3.01    
† Not applicable.
# Rounds to zero.
! Interpret data with caution. Estimate is unstable due to high coefficient of variation (>30 percent and ≤50 percent).
‡ Reporting standards not met due to coefficient of variation over 50 percent.
* p<.05. Significantly different from the U.S. percentage at the .05 level of statistical significance.
NOTE: Education systems are ordered by 2015 percentages of 15-year-olds in levels 5 and above. To reach a particular proficiency level, a student must correctly answer a majority of items at that level. Students were classified into science proficiency levels according to their scores. Exact cut scores are as follows: level 2 and below (a score less than or equal to 484.14); level 5 and above (a score greater than 633.33). Scores are reported on a scale from 0 to 1,000. The OECD average is the average of the national percentages of the OECD member countries, with each country weighted equally. Standard error is noted by s.e. Italics indicate non-OECD countries and education systems. B-S-J-G (China) refers to the four PISA participating China provinces: Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu, and Guangdong. Results for Massachusetts and North Carolina are for public school students only. Although Argentina, Malaysia, and Kazakhstan participated in PISA 2015, technical problems with their samples prevent results from being discussed in this report. This table corresponds to figure 1 in Performance of U.S. 15-Year-Old Students in Science, Mathematics, and Reading Literacy in an International Context (NCES 2017-048).
SOURCE: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), 2015.