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PISA study: Hungarian students’ performance stays level as OECD average falls

The latest PISA study showed no significant change in Hungarian students' reading and mathematics skills compared with the previous, 2018 results, even as the performance of other OECD countries fell, the head of the Hungarian Education Office (OH) said on Tuesday.

The 2022 PISA study, released on Tuesday, showed the results of tests from 81 countries, Sandor Brassoi said.

The reading, mathematics and science skills of 15-year-olds fell sharply in countries long considered as having exemplary education systems such as Iceland, Norway, the Netherlands and Finland, he said.

Meanwhile, Hungary maintained — and slightly improved — those skills despite the pandemic and the difficult economic situation, Brassoi said. Students have taken the transfer to digital education in stride, and the number of weak-performing students fell slightly, he added.

Gabor Kristof Velkey, the head of public education analysis at OH, said the 2022 survey had seen the most participants so far, 37 OECD members and 44 partner states. In Hungary, 6,198 students of 270 public education institutes completed the tests, he added.

In maths, Hungarian students scored an average of 473 points, compared with the OECD average of 472 points, Velkey said. The OECD average in science was 485 points, and Hungarians scored an average of 486; in reading, the OECD average was 476 point, and the Hungarian 473 points, he said.

Velkey noted that the study places individual results of proficiency levels to indicate larger-scale trends. The EU’s goal is to push the ratio of the students not reaching proficiency level 2 below 15 percent.

In maths, 68.9 percent of students reached that level on average, while 70.5 percent of Hungarian students did so, Velkey said. In reading, 73.7 percent of children reached proficiency level 2 on average, and 74.1 percent in Hungary. In science, the same ratio was 75.5 percent in OECD countries and 77.1 percent in Hungary.

Hungary also scored above average considering its GDP-per-capita ratio, Brassoi added.

Further, 81 percent of Hungarian children said they made friends easily and that they felt they belonged to a community, compared with 76 percent on average, he said.

The general satisfaction of children with their lives fell since the last study, with 18 percent now saying they were dissatisfied with their lives, up from 16 percent in 2018, Brassoi said. In Hungary, the same indicator fell from 16 percent in 2018 to 13 percent in 2022, he said.

The number of children who said they felt unsafe on their way to school or in the classroom was 7 percent and 5 percent, respectively, a few points below the OECD average, he added.

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