Navigate Up
Sign In

Improved scores for Malta in PISA 2015

Reference Number: PR162790, Press Release Issue Date: Dec 06, 2016
There are many lenses that one can use to look at developments in the fields of education and schooling.  One of these lenses is the PISA international tests offered by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).  Seventy-two countries and economies, including Malta, took part in the 2015 assessment.  PISA focuses primarily on the assessment of student performance in reading, mathematics and science as they are foundational to a student’s continuing education.  However it looks also at student attitudes and motivations, and collaborative problem-solving.  PISA provides opportunities for the identification of policies and practices that appear to be working in some countries.  However, there is no ‘one size fits all’ education model for countries and it is not appropriate to ‘cut and paste’ a country’s education system into another country which may provide a very different context.
Malta participated in PISA 2009 and in PISA 2015, but not in 2012.  In PISA 2015 Malta has obtained improved results across the areas of reading, mathematics and science.  Malta was one of the few countries which increased the share of top-performing students in reading since PISA 2009.  With regard to mathematics, Malta decreased both the number of low achievers and increased significantly the number of high performers.  More Maltese students enjoyed the study of science, which brought about higher levels of motivation.  Another achievement for Malta has been in reducing the gender gap. This was especially marked for reading, with Malta being the country with the highest reduction in mean reading gender score differences.  Differences in results among the schooling sectors have persisted.  However, it is to be noted that these results are to be interpreted in the light of the socio-economic and cultural conditions which prevail in the different contexts and which have been proven to determine achievement. Also, against all international trends, immigrant children in Maltese schools have been recorded to achieve more highly.
In the following weeks and months, the Ministry of Education will examine more closely the PISA 2015 national and global results in order to determine what lessons may be learnt.  On the global level it has already been shown that the quality of teaching is an important factor in determining higher performance. Huge credit is due to teachers, school management teams and all education support staff in Malta who offer the right conditions for their students to progress in their respective educational paths. 
The full report can be accessed on