PISA student performance in Finland 2000-2018, by subject and score

In the PISA test 2018, Finnish students performed well above the OECD average in reading, mathematics, and science knowledge. Finnish students scored 520 points in reading, 507 points in mathematics, and 522 in science.

OECD’s Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) is a worldwide study that evaluates educational systems in selected countries by assessing student performance in reading, mathematics, and science. It was conducted for the first time in 2000 and then repeated every three years. Over half a million 15-year-olds from 79 countries and economies took the PISA test in 2018.

Finnish PISA success

Finland has been among the top-ranking countries in all PISA tests since 2000, but in recent years the Nordic country has shown decline in performance. The downward trend of Finland's mean score continued in 2018 with a drop of 4 points from PISA 2015. While the ranking in mathematical literacy remained at its previous level, reading and science literacy performance declined. Meanwhile, Estonia has surpassed Finland in the PISA ranking as the European leader.

Large gender gap in reading skills

Finnish students continued to perform well in reading literacy, but the difference in reading skills of girls and boys has been one of the widest in the participating countries. In PISA 2018, the difference in favor of girls was 51 points, compared to an average of 30 points in OECD countries. Another worrying trend has been the increasing influence of socio-economic background on learning outcomes. In particular, the number of poor-performing readers in the lowest socioeconomic quarter has been on the rise, while the results of the highest socioeconomic groups have remained the same.

PISA student performance in Finland from 2000 to 2018, by subject and score

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Release date

December 2019



Survey time period

2000 to 2018

Supplementary notes

The source adds the following information: "PISA assesses the levels of knowledge and skills attained by 15-year-olds in the OECD countries (and other partner countries). The assessment is carried out every third year and the results are normally published by the end of the following year.

Results can be compared over the years observing the following restrictions: Reading literacy can be compared for all assessments from 2000-2009. Mathematical literacy only for the years 2003-2009 and Scientific literacy from 2006-2009.

Mean score: To facilitate the interpretation of the scores assigned to students in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), the PISA mean score for combined reading, mathematical and scientific literacy performance across OECD countries was set at 500 and the standard deviation at 100, with the data weighted so that each OECD country contributed equally.

Reading literacy is defined in PISA as the ability to understand, use and reflect on written texts in order to achieve one's goals, to develop one's knowledge and potential, and to participate effectively in society.
Mathematical literacy is defined in PISA as the capacity to identify, understand and engage in mathematics as well as to make well-founded judgements about the role that mathematics plays in an individual's current and future life as a constructive, concerned and reflective citizen.
Scientific literacy is defined as the capacity to use scientific knowledge, to identify questions and to draw evidence-based conclusions in order to understand and help make decisions about the natural world and human interactions with it."

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Statistics on "Education in Finland"

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