General News of Wed, 15 Dec 200427
Ghana sucks at maths and science
... second to last in world study
... 150 schools took part in study
Ghana eighth-graders are behind their peers across the globe in science and math according to an international review of school performance.
The 2003 test results released Tuesday placed Ghana as one of the worst of several countries tested for Grade 8-level mathematics and science proficiency.
Of the 45 countries ranked in the eighth-grade survey, Ghana was 44th in both mathematics and science - outperforming only South Africa.
Ghanaian eighth-graders scored 276, on average, in mathematics. This was far below the international average (466) as well as the average scores of their peers in 44 of the 45 other participating countries (see table I below).
Students in all the other African countries that took part in the survey - Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco and Botswana, outperformed Ghanaian pupils.
Singapore, Korea and Hong Kong were among the top performers.
Ghana did not fare any better in science. Ghanaian eighth-graders score 255 points - far below the international average of 473 points - and under performed their peers (see table 2 below). Ghanaian eighth-graders performed lower, on average, than their peers in all the other African countries except South Africa.
The findings were made by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement's third four-yearly international mathematics and science assessment project.
The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, or TIMSS, is a test of curriculum taught in all participating countries, from chemistry and physics to geometry and algebra. It is a respected benchmark of a country's performance in primary and middle grades.
Ghana did not take part in a similar study in 1999.
The Ghana leg of the study was conducted among about 5690 Grade 8 pupils in 150 schools across the country in 2003.
The new report is available at timss.bc.edu.
Table 1: Average mathematics scale scores of eighth-grade students, by country: 2003International average = 466
Country Average score
Russian Federation 508
Slovak Republic 508
United States 504
New Zealand 494
Moldova, Republic of 460
(Macedonia, Republic of) 435
Iran, Islamic Republic of 411
Palestinian National Authority 390
Saudi Arabia 332
South Africa 264
Table 2: Average science scale scores of eighth-grade students, by country: 2003International average 466
Country Average score
Chinese Taipei 571
Korea, Republic of 558
Hong Kong SAR2,3 556
(United States) 527
New Zealand 520
Slovak Republic 517
Russian Federation 514
Moldova, Republic of 472
Iran, Islamic Republic of 453
(Macedonia, Republic of) 449
Palestinian National Authority 435
Saudi Arabia 398
South Africa 244Source: --