The
latest PISA results for 2018 issued today by OECD confirm the steady
improvement made by Maltese state schools in the three domains assessed by the
PISA study: Reading, Mathematics and Science. In fact, the study shows that :

**The mean Reading score **for State schools** **has increased in each PISA cycle. This
went from 408 in 2009 to 414 in 2015 to 419 in 2018.

The **mean Science score **for State Schools** **has increased from 425 in 2009 to 427 in 2015 to 428 in 2018.

In State schools,** the mean Mathematics score **increased
from 430 in 2009 to 443 in 2015 and 443
in 2018

These
positive results for State Schools reflects the measures which have been
introduced throughout the years which are impacting in improved results in
these three domains. These include the development of the National Literacy
Agency, the strong focus on science popularisation through several measures in
schools, the strong support given for Mathematics in primary schools as well as
the substantial investment being made for more resources within schools.

**PISA 2018 results at a glance**

The PISA survey
takes place every three years and Malta has participated three times in the
2009, 2015 and 2018 cycles. PISA surveys
assess students’ attainment in Reading, Mathematics and Science. In PISA 2018,
Reading was the major domain, while Science and Mathematics were the minor
domains.

All
students attending school in Malta who were born in 2002 participated in PISA
2018. A major change in this assessment
was that computers were used instead of booklets. Seventy countries, including Malta, used a
computer-based assessment, while eight countries used paper-based tests.

**Attainment in Reading **

When comparing EU Member
States, Malta scored significantly higher in Reading than Romania, Cyprus and
Bulgaria but significantly lower than the other Member States.

In all PISA
participating countries, **girls scored
significantly higher than boys** in reading. The mean Reading score of Maltese girls
exceeded the mean score of boys by 49 score points and was one of the largest
gender gaps across participating countries.

The mean Reading
score of Maltese students in the PISA 2018 cycle (448) was 1 point higher than
the PISA 2015 cycle (447), and 7 points higher than the PISA 2009 cycle (441).

Since 2009, **the mean reading scores of boys attending State and Independent schools
increased significantly**, however the mean reading scores of boys attending
Church schools decreased significantly. In all school types, the mean reading
scores of girls varied marginally throughout the last nine years.

Female students
scored significantly higher in Reading than boys. The difference in mean
reading scores between the two gender groups was 65 points in State schools, 41
points in Church schools and 24 points in Independent schools.

In PISA 2009 the
gender gap in Reading was 72 points (406 for boys and 478 for girls), which
decreased to 42 points in PISA 2015 (426 for boys and 468 for girls), but
increased again to 49 points in PISA 2018 (425 for boys and 474
for girls).

**The mean Reading score for State schools has increased** in each PISA cycle. This went from 408 in 2009 to 414 in 2015 to 419 in
2018. In Independent schools, the mean Reading score increased from 499 in 2009
to 514 in 2015 to 516 in 2018. In Church schools, the mean Reading score
increased from 485 in 2009 to 492 in 2015 but decreased to 473 in 2018.

**Attainment in Science**

When comparing EU
Member States, Malta scored significantly higher in Science than Cyprus,
Romania and Bulgaria and on a par with Greece. Malta however, scored
significantly lower in Science than the remaining Member States.

In State schools, **the** **mean Science score increased** from 425 in 2009 to 427 in 2015 to 428
in 2018. In Independent schools, the mean Science score increased from 518 in
2009 to 540 in 2015 but decreased to 523 in 2018. In Church schools, the mean
Science score increased from 507 in 2009 to 509 in 2015 but decreased to 482 in
2018.

In 50 PISA
participating countries, including Malta, **girls
scored significantly higher than boys** in Science. The mean Science score of Maltese girls exceeded the mean score of boys
by 21 score points and was one of the largest gender gaps in favour of girls
across the countries.

In PISA 2009 the
gender gap in Science was 34 points (444 for boys and 478 for girls), which
decreased to 10 points in PISA 2015 (460
for boys and 470 for girls), but increased again to 21 points in PISA 2018 (447
for boys and 468 for girls).

**Attainment in Mathematics**

When comparing EU
Member States, Malta scored significantly higher in Maths than Croatia, Romania,
Greece, and Bulgaria but significantly lower than the remaining Member States.

In 12 PISA
participating countries, including Malta, **girls
scored significantly higher than boys** in Mathematics. The mean Mathematics
score of Maltese girls exceeded the mean score of boys by 13 score points and
was one of the largest gender gaps in favour of girls across the countries.

Student attainment in
Mathematics differs significantly between school types. Boys and girls
attending Church and Independent schools, scored significantly higher in
Mathematics, compared to the international
average (489); while boys and girls attending State
schools scored significantly lower.

The mean Mathematics score of
Maltese students in the PISA 2018 cycle (472) was 6 points lower than the PISA
2015 cycle (478), and 9 points higher than the PISA 2009 cycle (463).

**In State schools, the mean Mathematics score increased** from 430 in 2009 to 443 in 2015 to 443 in 2018. In Independent schools, the mean Mathematics
score increased from 512 in 2009 to 540 in 2015 but decreased to 535 in
2018. In Church schools, the mean
Mathematics score increased from 506 in 2009 to 521 in 2015 but decreased to
496 in 2018.

Since 2009, **the mean Mathematics scores of male students attending State schools
increased significantly** however, the mean Mathematics scores of boys
attending Church schools decreased significantly. In all school types, the mean Mathematics scores of girls varied
marginally throughout the last nine years.

In PISA 2009 the
gender gap in Mathematics was 15 points (455 for boys and 470 for girls), which
decreased to 4 points in PISA 2015 (477 for
boys and 481 for girls), but increased again to 13 points in PISA 2018 (465 for
boys and 478 for girls).

**Equity in education**

The index that measures the economic, social, cultural status (ESCS) shows that the mean score for Malta (0.06) is significantly higher than
the international average (-0.03), indicating **a better socio-economic status of Maltese students compared to the
average**.

In Malta, the mean reading scores of non-immigrant students (452) was
similar to immigrant students (451). This is in contrast to the international
trend, where the mean reading score of non-immigrant students (494) is
significantly higher than immigrant students (452).

In Reading, Science and Mathematics
the percentages of Maltese high achievers with an immigrant background are
higher than their counterparts with non-immigrant background. However, the
percentages of Maltese low achievers are comparable between the two groups.

The isolation index,
which measures streaming and segregation of students by academic performance,
decreased from 0.3 in 2009 to 0.11 in 2018, indicating that students of
varying abilities were more likely to attend the same school. **Our education system has become more
comprehensive, focussing less on examination-based assessment.**

The isolation index of socio-economically advantaged students (0.15) was
higher than the isolation index of socio-economically disadvantaged students (0.12). This indicates that there are higher
concentrations of socio-economically advantaged students in some schools
(mainly independent schools) than socio-economically disadvantaged students.

The social diversity index measures the social segregation within a
country. Malta’s social diversity index (0.09) was significantly lower than the
OECD average (0.14) and was amongst the lowest in the 78 countries
participating in PISA 2018, indicating **lower
levels of social segregation in Maltese schools**.

The shortage index of
educational staff (-0.062) in Maltese schools is significantly lower than 0,
indicating that **staff shortages hinder**** to a lesser extent the school’s capacity to provide instruction,
compared to the average**.

The percentage of fully certified Maltese teachers in States schools
(93.0%) exceeded those in Church schools (88.1%) and Independent schools
(80.2%). There are more fully certified
teachers in disadvantaged Maltese schools (87.7%) than in advantaged schools
(82.5%).

**Teachers’
Enthusiasm, Support and Behaviour**

The majority of Maltese students reported that their **teachers were enthusiastic during lessons
and enjoyed teaching**. 78.8% of students agreed that teachers like teaching
them; 83.3% agreed that teachers like to deal with the topic of the lesson;
77.8% of students agreed that the teachers showed enjoyment in teaching, and
68.0% of students agreed that the teacher’s enthusiasm inspired them

The index that measures teacher enthusiasm shows that Malta’s mean score
(0.22) is significantly higher than the OECD average (0), indicating that **Maltese students perceive their teachers as
enthusiastic and enjoy teaching**.

**The majority of
Maltese students reported that they were supported by their teachers in most or
all lessons**.
81.2% of students agreed that teachers show interest in every student’s
learning; 80.5% agreed that teachers give extra help when student needs it;
84.8% of students agreed that the teachers help students with their learning,
and 80.3% of students agreed that the teachers continue teaching until the
students understand.

The index that measures teacher support shows that Malta’s mean score
(0.34) is significantly higher than the OECD average (0), indicating that **Maltese students receive support frequently
from teachers during lessons**.