• Jiji

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The average score of second-year students at junior high schools in mathematics marked a record high for the second consecutive year in 2019, an international survey showed Tuesday.

The average scores of elementary school fourth graders in math and the second-year students in science leveled off, while the fourth graders’ average science score fell 7 points, according to the survey.

All these averages are within the top five in the world.

The scores “remain at internationally high levels,” the education ministry said. It will analyze detailed data to find out the reason for the drop in science scores among the fourth graders.

The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study survey was conducted by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement.

Fourth graders from 58 countries and region and eighth graders from 39 took part in the survey. In Japan, some 4,200 fourth graders from 147 elementary schools and 4,400 second-year students from 142 junior high schools participated.

Japanese fourth graders scored 593 in math on average, the same as in the previous survey, ranking fifth internationally. The average math score of second-year junior high school students rose 7 points to 594, climbing to fourth place from fifth.

The fourth graders’ average score for science fell to 562, pulling the ranking down by one to fourth place. The score for the junior high school students stood at 570, dropping to third place.

Singaporeans topped the ranking in all four categories. The other countries and regions in the top five list in any of the categories were Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea and Russia.

The proportion of Japanese students and pupils who replied that it is fun to study math and science has been on the rise in recent years, exceeding 90% for fourth grade science.

However, less than 30% of second-year junior high school students said they want to work in a profession that uses math or science, which is about half of the international average.

In the survey, pupils and students are assigned one of the 14 booklets of math and science problems that they must solve. The results are then scored, with the international average in 1995 set as 500.

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