Taiwan's 15-year-old students ranked fourth in the world in both science and math, based on the latest results of the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), which is a worldwide study carried out by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Launched in 2000, PISA is undertaken once every three years to test the abilities of 15-year-old students in the core academic disciplines of reading, math and science. Taiwanese students have participated in the aptitude tests since 2006.
Around 540,000 students from 72 countries took part in PISA in 2015, with 7,708 Taiwanese students participating from 214 schools, including middle schools, high schools, vocational schools, and five-year junior colleges.
However, Taiwan's students received a less impressive ranking in reading, dropping 15 spots from last year to finish in 23rd place. National Chiao Tung University, Professor She Hsiao-ching said part of the explanation for the poorer score this year in reading was because the students weren't used to the new computer-based version of the test, the number of reading comprehension questions doubled from 44 to 88, and there were more open-ended questions, which were more challenging to answer.
Students from Singapore swept all three categories in first place. Hong Kong and Macao were ahead of Taiwan in math, while Japan and Estonian students were ahead of their Taiwanese counterparts in science.