Mongolia placed 47th in PISA rankings

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Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) is an international assessment of academic achievement that examines how 15-year-old students who have completed basic education apply the knowledge and skills acquired in the classroom in real life, and to what extent the country’s education system provides these skills. This assessment was carried out by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and 88 countries of the world participated in 2022. For the first time in Mongolia, about 7,300 students from 196 schools were randomly selected in 2022. The selected students completed math, science, reading, and creativity tasks. The results of the evaluation were announced at 5:00 p.m., December 5. In 2018, an agreement was signed by the Ministry of Education and Science, the Educational Evaluation Center, and the World Bank, and preparations were started on how to participate in this evaluation.

Mathematics performance score: The OECD average was 472, the Asian average was 451, and Mongolia’s score was 425. Mongolia ranked 47th among the countries participating in PISA and ranked first among the six participating countries for the first time. Mongolia was 2.3 years behind the OECD average in mathematics and 1.2 years behind the Asian average. One out of every two 15-year-old Mongolian students didn’t not reach the basic level in mathematics. Also, a total of 160 Mongolian students showed top performance.

Reading performance score: The OECD average was 476, the Asian average was 427, and Mongolia’s score was 378. Out of 81 countries, our country ranked 65th, five years behind the OECD average and 2.5 years behind the Asian average. Regarding reading performance skills, it was found that 64 percent of Mongolian students did not have reading skills. Two out of three students do not meet the basic level. One percent was rated at the top level.

Science performance score: OECD average score was 485, Asian average score was 449, and Mongolia’s score was 412. Our country was ranked 53 out of 81 countries, three years behind the OECD average and 1.8 years behind the Asian average. In terms of science knowledge and skills, one of the two children did not reach the basic level.

PISA measures many social indicators, including knowledge of mathematics, science, and reading. For example, it determines students’ life satisfaction. In 2022, when 81 countries were assessed, the average student life satisfaction score was 6.7. Asia’s average was seven, while Mongolian students’ life satisfaction was 7.2. In other words, the life satisfaction of 15-year-old Mongolian children was rated higher than the international average. But 15-year-olds in Cambodia, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan are more satisfied than Mongolia. OECD is investigating what indicators affect the satisfaction of Mongolian children. Minister of Education and Science, L.Enkh-Amgalan mentioned when presenting the results of PISA that the “Lunch Program” was changed to the “School Meal Program” before the start of the 2022 survey. He also noted that after the COVID-19 pandemic, the employment of psychologists in schools, whistle-blowing about peer bullying, and the elimination of wooden toilets in schools of the provinces have increased student satisfaction.

According to PISA, 9.7 percent of Mongolian students are regularly bullied by peers. This was higher than the average of the 81 countries evaluated, but almost the same as the average of Asian countries. Specifically, 8.3 percent of international students were regularly bullied by peers, while in Asia, this figure was 9.9 percent. Also, 21.3 percent of 15-year-old Mongolian children were bullied in some way by their peers.

86 percent of the 196 Mongolian schools included in the PISA assessment were below international social and economic indicators. Specifically, 86 percent of the 196 schools are below the income level and employment level of the parents, which directly affects the academic success of the children. Most of the 86 percent were schools in the provinces and soums.

Minister L.Enkh-Amgalan said, “In Mongolia, the difference between public and private schools is not like the difference between the rich and the poor. In particular, there is a good indicator that the performance of public school students is not far behind that of private school students. So, if children from middle-income families attend public schools, they have a chance to benefit more. In terms of reading ability, public school students outperform private school students.” 

Expert from OECD Lucia Tramonte presented some of the results of the assessment. She reported, “In 2022, 15-year-olds, about 690,000 students from 81 countries participated in the PISA assessment. The 2022 PISA assessment was based on mathematics. In terms of mathematics, Mongolia performed better than the EU member states and Bulgaria. It is worth noting that it outperformed Mexico, an OECD member country, in terms of natural science performance. Mongolia has achieved good results, but the assessment of reading ability was not enough compared to the results of mathematics and science.”

Dashmaa D