The Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) is conducting workshops for school principals and staff to share the results of the 2009 Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) assessment. The aim is to help schools understand the assessment results in order for them to improve further.
Pisa measures how well students have absorbed their schooling, and how well they are able to apply their knowledge in life outside school. Approximately two-thirds of Dubai's 15-year-olds underwent Pisa assessments in April and May 2009; 5,620 students from 134 schools (public and private) took part.
"The schools have supported Pisa 2009 with hard work and dedication. Now we want to help them to use the results of the assessment to understand their own school's achievements, and to put in place any improvements that can be made. We identified factors that schools and stakeholders can enhance to improve students' achievement," said Fatima Al Janahi, KHDA's Head of International Assessments.
"We are going through an example of a school report with them step by step so that when they get their own report they will be able to understand it properly. The school results will be confidential, they will not be shared at the workshops, but we can share our experience as we all have the same aim — to improve education in Dubai," she said.
Aisa 2009 has given Dubai its first accurate picture of the achievements of its 15-year-olds. The assessment showed that in reading and science, Dubai's female students outperformed male students. In mathematics, there was no significant difference between the average scores for males and females.
The questionnaires which were part of the assessment showed that factors outside the school had a significant influence on student's performance
After ten years of Pisa assessments worldwide some education systems such as Poland and Latvia now regarded as success stories, started out where Dubai now stands
Mike Helal of Parkville Global Advisory, who carried out an analysis of Dubai's Pisa 2009 results and led the workshops, said: "We found students' skill levels in Dubai leading the Arab world today but the aspirations are for them to be amongst the world's best in the near future. Informing the education process with robust research evidence can see students spearhead the drive towards the knowledge economy."
In its first participation in the worldwide assessment, Dubai was placed top of the Mena (Middle East and North Africa) countries that took part. Of the 65 countries that were assessed in Pisa 2009, Dubai came 42nd in reading proficiency with a score of 459, 41st in mathematics with a score of 453, and 41st in science with a score of 466.
Pisa 2009 focused on reading skills, which account for 80 per cent of the results.