In an international comparison, Germany has a lot to catch up with when it comes to digitally equipping schools and students. In any case, it lagged significantly in 2018, as shown by a special review of the latest results from Pisa.
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which is responsible for the international comparison of school performance, presented corresponding data on Tuesday based on a survey of school leaders. The topic has been much discussed in the wake of the Corona crisis.
Accordingly, at the time of the Pisa survey in Germany, only 33 percent of students had access to an online learning platform; the OECD average was more than 54 percent. Germany ended up in the bottom group. In Singapore, some Chinese metropolises or Denmark, more than 90 percent of students had access to learning platforms as early as 2018.
According to the study, Germany was also below the OECD average in the number of computers available to school children and also far behind when it came to digital in-service training for teachers. According to this information, only about 40 percent of students in 2018 attended institutions where management believed there were appropriate opportunities for further teacher education. Here too, schools in Asia, for example Singapore with 90 percent, were much better positioned according to their own assessment.
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When it comes to digitization, in Germany there is a gap between schools in socially disadvantaged and socially prosperous areas: in the first group only 30 percent of students have access to digital learning platforms, in the second group it is 37 percent.
For the study, the education experts evaluated the dataset from the 2018 international Pisa study under the central question to what extent higher government spending on education leads to better learning outcomes. They conclude that “it is not the amount of money a country spends on education that makes the biggest difference, but where the money is spent,” according to the OECD report.
Great discrepancy in the teaching of foreign languages in Germany
Despite relatively high expenditure on education, the experts found particularly large social differences for Germany. The risk of having to repeat a grade is one and a half times greater for pupils with a socially disadvantaged background than for pupils from well-to-do families.
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The differences were also evident in the weekly teaching times of certain subjects – for example in foreign language lessons: on average, 15-year-old students in Germany who are better off socially would receive 66 minutes more foreign language lessons per week than underprivileged students. This is “one of the biggest differences compared to other participating states in Pisa,” the scientists write.
A total of 37 western-oriented industrialized countries have joined forces in the OECD. In the Pisa study, the OECD surveys the achievement level of students in different countries at regular intervals. The results of the comparison test attract a lot of attention. The last survey took place in 2018: about 32 million 15-year-olds in 79 countries were surveyed. In Germany, 5,451 students from 226 schools participated.
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When comparing school performance, 15-year-olds collect personal data of pupils, parents and school principals in a survey in addition to the compulsory mathematics, reading and science tests. These are used for special evaluations. This means that among the actual Pisa results, which are presented only every three years, there are repeated publications of Pisa study results.
The next Pisa study is scheduled for 2022. The scientists want to focus in particular on the effects of the corona crisis on education. (dpa, AFP)