PISA test 2022 results: Estonia’s education is the best in Europe

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The PISA 2022 educational survey published today shows that the knowledge and skills of Estonian 15-year-olds are at the absolute top in Europe and the top eight in the world, with the leading countries in Asia. Among European countries, Estonia ranks 1st-2nd in mathematics with Switzerland, 1st in science and 1st-2nd in reading with Ireland.

The Minister of Education and Research, Kristina Kallas, said that compared to other countries, Estonian results are characterised by the fact that many Estonian children achieve a baseline level of proficiency in mathematics. “This means that our teachers pay a lot of attention to all children equally in the class, and we achieve the top results in the world not only thanks to the most capable children but with the above-average results of all children. The professional skills of Estonian teachers are a key here,” said the minister.

All over the world, students’ results have fallen compared to the results of PISA 2018. Still, Estonian students’ results fell less than others, showing that Estonia managed to organise education well during the COVID-19 pandemic thanks to digital tools and a growth mindset. “The results affirm the effectiveness and equity of Estonia’s education system, showing that academic achievement in the country remains largely independent of socioeconomic backgrounds,” Kallas said.
A total of 690,000 students from 81 countries or economic regions took the test in the spring of 2022. In Estonia, 6,392 students from 196 schools took the test. The PISA test consisted of tasks in mathematics, functional reading, science and creative thinking, and this time the emphasis was on mathematics. Students and school heads also completed questionnaires, which have been used to analyse and interpret the test results.

Estonian students are skilled, safe and satisfied

The study showed that in addition to having excellent knowledge and skills, Estonian students are mostly satisfied with their lives. The assessment of their life satisfaction (average 6.91 points on a 10-point scale) is higher than the OECD average (6.75), similar to Sweden (6.91) and slightly lower than Finland (7.41). Boys are more satisfied with their life than girls.
Estonian children also believe that their results are in their own hands. Similarly to the PISA 2018, we rank first in comparing countries regarding growth mindset. This means students believe they can improve their intelligence and are willing to put effort into their development to secure a better future.
In addition, children in Estonia feel safe at school. Students’ sense of security is higher than average in OECD countries because of the safer way to school. The feeling of safety in the classroom and other areas of the school is similar to the OECD average. The Estonian basic education system supports students to become self-directed learners. Estonia is among the countries where seven out of ten students feel ready for self-directed learning.

Estonia: a beacon of educational innovation

Estonia’s commitment to education is evident in its society and its influence on the global stage. The country’s educational brand, Education Estonia, showcases Estonia’s expertise, experiences, and smart solutions in education, further strengthening its international reputation.

Digital innovation remains a cornerstone of Estonian education, with schools utilising advanced technology to prepare students for a digital future. Yet, the balance between digital and traditional learning methods ensures a comprehensive and adaptable educational environment. The country also takes care of some other issues, such as safety. The sense of security is higher than on average in OECD countries for Estonian students.

All in all, according to PISA estimates, Estonia’s approach to education is characterised by its inclusivity and fairness, ensuring equal access to quality education regardless of background. The country’s vocational training, higher education, and adult education systems are noted for their quality, flexibility, and alignment with modern industry needs.

There is also an interesting parallel between the PISA results and Estonia’s performance as a startup nation with most startups and unicorns per capita. Both phenomena reflect a shared let’s-do-it mindset. The PISA test outcomes reveal that Estonian students embrace a progressive mindset, demonstrating a belief in their ability to shape the future. They are motivated to go the extra mile to enhance their intelligence and capabilities.

For more information about the results of PISA 2022, please visit the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research’s website.


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