PISA Research: Croatia in High Eighth Place in Terms of Global Competencies

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PISA research - Croatia in a high eighth place in terms of global competencies
PISA research - Croatia in a high eighth place in terms of global competencies

October 23, 2020 – Compared to the other 27 participating countries, Croatia ranked eighth in the overall PISA research of global competencies, and Croatian students achieved a significantly better result than the average, according to the results published on Thursday.

As Hina reports, this result announcement of students’ global competencies completes the seventh cycle of the OECD PISA 2018 research, the National Center for External Evaluation of Education (NCVVO) reported on Thursday, October 22, 2020.

Global competencies were examined as a set of knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values students need for a harmonious life in multicultural societies, success in a changing labor market, efficient and responsible use of media platforms, and support for sustainable development goals.

Global competencies examined as an additional innovative domain

NCVVO reminded that in the spring of 2018, 6609 Croatian 15-year-olds from 179 secondary and four primary schools participated in the PISA reading, mathematics, and science literacy survey. Global competencies were examined as an additional innovative domain in which countries could arbitrarily join. The results of the PISA research of reading, math, and science literacy were published in December last year.

When it comes to global competences, Croatian students achieved 506 points, which, it was pointed out, is a significantly better result than the average of 474 points.

The highest, fifth level of achievement, which implies that students possess complex knowledge and skills such as critical reflection on global events and activities for individual and collective well-being, was achieved by 4.2 percent of Croatian students, which is in line with the average of all respondents being 4.3.

On the other hand, the basic, second level of global competencies was not reached by 33.3 percent of Croatian students, which is significantly less than the average of all students who participated in the research, which is 49 percent. It was explained that these are students who do not possess the basic competencies needed to successfully deal with global problems and social-political, economic, and environmental challenges.


Above-average results, but great space for improvement

“Although our students have achieved above-average results, it is clear that there is great space for improvement, both in terms of global competencies and in other areas of PISA research,” said NCVVO director Ivana Katavić.

She believes that when the national exams are introduced, which are a common and regular evaluation tool in other countries, Croatia will have a basic mechanism for establishing and systematically monitoring the quality of education.

“Objective achievements of students in basic knowledge and competencies in the most important parts of educational cycles will provide students, parents, and the entire education system with feedback on the quality of acquired knowledge and skills that students should acquire during a particular educational cycle,” said Katavić, adding that the feedback will enable quick reactions and the introduction of measures to improve educational outcomes at key educational moments for our students.

The achieved results of Croatian students indicate that significantly better results were achieved by girls – eight points more than boys, high school (gymnasium) students – 574 points or 146 points more than students of vocational programs, students attending schools in larger cities, and students of more favorable socioeconomic status.

Out of 27 participating countries, the best average score was achieved by Singapore (576 points), Canada (554 points), Hong Kong (542 points), and the United Kingdom (534 points). The worst results were achieved by the Philippines (371 points), Morocco (402 points), and Kazakhstan and Indonesia (408 points).


Croatian students expressed greater awareness of global issues

NCVVO reported that Croatian students, their parents, and school principals completed an additional questionnaire examining attitudes and contextual factors that may have an impact on student achievements in the field of global competencies. Out of 79 countries participating in the PISA 2018 survey, 66 joined this additional questionnaire.

It was pointed out that, compared to the OECD average, Croatian students showed greater awareness of global issues such as migration, equality between men and women, and international conflicts, as well as a higher degree of self-efficacy, whereby students of more favorable socioeconomic status show significantly higher awareness and self-efficacy.

Parents of Croatian students also expressed a higher level of awareness of global issues compared to the average score in 14 countries that also completed a questionnaire for parents.

Croatian students showed an average interest in learning about other cultures, an average level of respect for people of different cultural backgrounds, a slightly lower level of cognitive adaptability as the ability to adapt thinking and behavior to new situations, cultural environments, and circumstances when interacting with people from other cultures, and a lower degree of understanding of different perspectives.

Attitudes of Croatian students towards immigrants are more positive compared to the average of OECD countries.

More than 90 percent of Croatian students said they spoke two or more languages, which is significantly higher than the OECD average of 68 percent, with more languages spoken by girls, students with more favorable socioeconomic status, and students whose parents themselves speak several languages.

However, compared to their peers from OECD countries, Croatian students are less willing to take action related to local and global problems, and they notice much more the discriminatory behavior of a larger number of their teachers.

According to the principals, topics related to global issues and intercultural learning are less included in school and teaching curricula in Croatia, compared to OECD countries.


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