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  #21  
Old 03.12.2013, 19:59
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Re: Switzerland in top 10 in 2012 PISA survey (mathematics)

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Oh dear

"Wall and Florr Tiling
GOLD: Bohmfalk, Björn – Germany
GOLD: Siegenthaler, Thomas Fabian – Switzerland
GOLD: Liebenauer, Thomas – Austria
BRONZE: Ageneau, Basile – France"

Painting and Decorating
GOLD: Peinthor, Christina – Austria
GOLD: Lhoste, Kelly – France
BRONZE: Shen, Ping-Hao – Chinese Taipei


This scares the crap out of me :-O
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  #22  
Old 03.12.2013, 21:22
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Re: Switzerland in top 10 in 2012 PISA survey (mathematics)

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Having participated in these competitions myself, I am not sure how it is related to general education level. Success on these competitions depends on those organizing them in the country, tradition of the country in the field and many times it is a couple of "super" high schools in a country that have pupils successful at these competitions.
The Pisa study just says swiss schools are better in average for math than other countries. You can't use the math olympics contest argument.
I'll see it really like Olympic games telling about a few elite vs. Pisa study telling you about the population. It's like saying: "in average swiss population is thiner and fitter than US people....but hey USA has more olympic medals than Switzerland"
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  #23  
Old 03.12.2013, 21:25
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Re: Switzerland in top 10 in 2012 PISA survey (mathematics)

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Out of curiosity, is there a list of the Swiss schools that took PISA exam? It would be interesting to see a breakdown by canton/type of school.
There is one from 2009 (in french)....can't tell you much about it as I did not read it.

PS: link to website for german version.
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  #24  
Old 03.12.2013, 22:30
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Re: Switzerland in top 10 in 2012 PISA survey (mathematics)

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This is true-all tests of educational achievement are flawed. There's actually been a lot of research on the PISA tests regarding methodology and country-specific flaws. These studies suggest that, more than anecdotal evidence, there are systemic flaws in test implementation that can strongly influence country scores. These, unfortunately, tend to lag far behind the PISA results (for obvious reasons).

From a critical review of the 2000 PISA:

"The issue of response bias due to pupils having already left school, by the date of the survey, may be expected to be even more serious in countries where 15 is the age when obligatory full-time schooling ends as, for example, in many parts of Switzerland and Germany, but much depends on the survey's coverage of part-time vocational colleges. Vocational colleges in these countries were sampled in respect of their 15 year olds; pupil-response rates have been published for Germany, but reached only a disappointing 44% (compared to 86% for the inquiry as a whole in that country)."

http://www.oecd.org/edu/school/progr...a/33680693.pdf
Yes, some of the pupils in Germany, Switzerland, Austria and partially Netherlands, France and others might at that point already be in the profession specific training, espcially the ones who are able to conclude their schooling in minimum time. Others, also in other countries, could be in an "untracked" eduction system or unemployed. In some countries the response rate of the schools or pupils is very bad or pupils are not required to attend school at all.


In the case of Switzerland there is some data that could give some information on the error rate for the year 2011 (let's assume the distribution into the different sections is approximately the same for all years): The estimated population in the age of 15 in Switzerland is 87'265. Of these 63'167 were in obligatory school, 8'461 are in grammar school. In this case at least 82% of the pupils would be in a school at which they could be "PISA eligible". 11'656 (or ~13.4%) would be in another school that might or might not be tested within PISA, while the remaining 2855 (or ~3.3%) do...well, who knows what. So there is, as in many countries, a significant possibility for errors.

However good or bad the programme might be, we don't know much more than before. The countries in which the pupils where tested and systems are too different to provide a conclusive result. That the Swiss system is pretty competitve is not exactly new. How good it effectively is, is probably impossible to tell, but I think is in any case very important that the necessary steps are now made to keep the system competitve (funding, cantonal harmonisation, day care, further measures to prevent elitist tendencies and inequality). There is still a lot to do.
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  #25  
Old 03.12.2013, 22:59
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Re: Switzerland in top 10 in 2012 PISA survey (mathematics)

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Having participated in these competitions myself, I am not sure how it is related to general education level. Success on these competitions depends on those organizing them in the country, tradition of the country in the field and many times it is a couple of "super" high schools in a country that have pupils successful at these competitions.
It is, at least in my country we all have the same curriculum (those who follow natural sciences). There are no "special" high-schools.
And since you mentioned tradition...well, yes, I think it is a great thing.
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  #26  
Old 03.12.2013, 23:38
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Re: Pisa Results Educational Standards Switzerland

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what's 1 + 1?
11 ???
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  #27  
Old 04.12.2013, 00:01
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Re: Switzerland in top 10 in 2012 PISA survey (mathematics)

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It is, at least in my country we all have the same curriculum (those who follow natural sciences). There are no "special" high-schools.
What I meant by super is schools that have tradition in being good at these competitions. The know-how gets transferred through generations. They don't have to fall into a different category, they will give the same education as any other top high school in the country, but people in the specific field (maths, physics, cs, etc.) will know to which school you should go if you are interested in these competitions.

I had attended a school that was a standrad gymnasium equivalent, but each year top people would come from my school. And I know that this was case for many other countries, with some exceptions (e.g. Turkey would be an exception, there you indeed go to a special school, though not a must)
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Old 04.12.2013, 01:31
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Re: Switzerland in top 10 in 2012 PISA survey (mathematics)

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... and a sad day for Sweden....
Hey, cannot always be no1 (joke)

anyway, what matters in the end is how you utilize it...
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  #29  
Old 04.12.2013, 01:41
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Re: Switzerland in top 10 in 2012 PISA survey (mathematics)

Here is the full chart for maths, reading and science
Attached Files
File Type: pdf PISA-table.pdf (402.2 KB, 138 views)
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  #30  
Old 04.12.2013, 03:01
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Re: Switzerland in top 10 in 2012 PISA survey (mathematics)

I know everyone is pissing themselves with glee at the prospect of how low the US was ranked but....if the US were represented by the state of Massachusetts only the picture is a little different.

Reading: 4th
Science: 7th
Math: 10th

(http://www.wbur.org/2013/12/03/massa...a-test-results)

Finland also really dropped back this year which is a bit of a surprise in some ways, but perhaps not in others.

Mostly, though, I think these tests are for political points and don't really gauge how well kids learn or just how many stupid people still live on the planet since a trip to the grocery or noting how many 'reality' TV shows are popular across the globe will answer that question rather quickly.

I got a perfect score on my SATs years ago....and look at me now...killing time while drinking wine on EF.
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  #31  
Old 04.12.2013, 03:02
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Re: Switzerland in top 10 in 2012 PISA survey (mathematics)

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What I meant by super is schools that have tradition in being good at these competitions. The know-how gets transferred through generations. They don't have to fall into a different category, they will give the same education as any other top high school in the country, but people in the specific field (maths, physics, cs, etc.) will know to which school you should go if you are interested in these competitions.

I had attended a school that was a standrad gymnasium equivalent, but each year top people would come from my school. And I know that this was case for many other countries, with some exceptions (e.g. Turkey would be an exception, there you indeed go to a special school, though not a must)
If I think about the system I came from, I cannot say we had schools that specifically aimed at these achievements. It was much more a question of individual effort, both from the students side and the teachers side. Yes, it happens that you hear very often about a high-school or another that "produces" top students who get to win medals in all sorts of competitions, but you could also have a very pleasant surprise re. level of instruction in another one that is not exactly known for these things, yet they have a high success rate of admission to international universities.
Also, I don't even know whether the education systems could be truly comparable or not. Some are very theoretical, some are more practice oriented
Also, different tests measure different things
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The PISA mathematics literacy test asks students to apply their
mathematical knowledge to solve problems set in real-world contexts. To
solve the problems students must activate a number of mathematical competencies
as well as a broad range of mathematical content knowledge. TIMSS, on the other
hand, measures more traditional classroom content such as an understanding of
fractions and decimals and the relationship between them (curriculum
attainment). PISA claims to measure education's application to real-life
problems and lifelong learning (workforce knowledge).
Anyway, there are a number of things here. You hear all the time ex-pats from various backgrounds complaining about education in Switzerland, about the curriculum which apparently doesn't cover much, etc. etc. Another one (my personal curiosity) is how on earth only 16% or 18% from the total of primary school children make it to Gymnasium.
And now I should really be in bed. OMG...
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  #32  
Old 04.12.2013, 03:30
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Re: Switzerland in top 10 in 2012 PISA survey (mathematics)

I think this result only surprises those who still insist that Switzerland is a quaint little farmers country that needs to import all that many foreigners to tell them how it's done.

Some skepticism of the results is certainly warranted, (Shanghai is the best example, I can't believe people in the West are taking it at face value, the Chinese certainly don't) but it should hardly be news that Switzerland overall has a pretty good general education system, and an excellent vocational system that produces outstanding professionals. A friend of mine with only an automation apprenticeship in his pockets went to India in his early twenties to lead a team of technicians and engineers. Degrees in most parts of the world aren't worth the paper they're written on, and that includes much of Europe. As flawed as the testing system may be, as long as CH is among the top 20 countries it should be fine.
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Old 04.12.2013, 08:21
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Re: Switzerland in top 10 in 2012 PISA survey (mathematics)

We pulled our kids 10 years old twins and an 8 year old out of Switzerland earlier in the year and put them into state schooling in the UK. Our twin boys include a high achiever and one has ADHD and they don't fit the limited Swiss model.

The children are much happier in the UK, have a wider and much richer accidemic curriculum, get given extra work if needed and we are happy we made the difficult decision. Survey or no survey Swiss schooling didn't work for us, despite really trying to make it work here.
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  #34  
Old 04.12.2013, 08:51
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Re: Switzerland in top 10 in 2012 PISA survey (mathematics)

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Anyway, there are a number of things here. You hear all the time ex-pats from various backgrounds complaining about education in Switzerland, about the curriculum which apparently doesn't cover much, etc. etc.
Fixed that for you

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Another one (my personal curiosity) is how on earth only 16% or 18% from the total of primary school children make it to Gymnasium.
And now I should really be in bed. OMG...
I actually think it is at the moment too easy to learn on the entry tests and that too many pass. This should be changed. I think the Gymnasium should be only for the ones who at that age are really focused on school and gifted enough. It's ridiculous how many are forced into that track without any drive from themselves, but because mummy and daddy think it's best and end up as lifetime students.

For the rest the penetrability of the system should be even further increased to make it easier to go to university later on when some might be a little more level-headed and really know if they want to continue to go to school (and for what). The Berufstmaturität/passerelle/adult gymnasium that were established, some of the only in the last decade, are a good start, but now the transition has to become smoother and the accessibility to scholarships has to be increased.

At least that's my opinion.
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Old 04.12.2013, 09:01
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Re: Switzerland in top 10 in 2012 PISA survey (mathematics)

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I think this result only surprises those who still insist that Switzerland is a quaint little farmers country that needs to import all that many foreigners to tell them how it's done.
In Swiss News (SRF) they said that one of the factor why Switzerland did so well was because of the many foreigners with an academic background are here, i.e. children with parents who are from academic background tend to do better....so
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  #36  
Old 04.12.2013, 10:32
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Re: Switzerland in top 10 in 2012 PISA survey (mathematics)

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In Swiss News (SRF) they said that one of the factor why Switzerland did so well was because of the many foreigners with an academic background are here, i.e. children with parents who are from academic background tend to do better....so
I guess you mean 10 vor 10? In that case if you would have taken part in the test and listening comprehension was part of it, the result would be a little worse.

What they were trying to get through is that the number of low achieving pupils in the reading tests is now much smaller than 13 years ago (from 20% to 14%), although the ones that are born in Switzerland achieved approximately the same result and improved only slightly.


They concluded that this is the case because the immigrants that are entering the country nowadays are:
  1. More often already speaking the languages that are taught at school (particularly Germans and Austrians) than in earlier years.
  2. More often from parents with academical background who apparently lay more emphasis on their children being able to read from an early age.
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Old 04.12.2013, 11:46
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Re: Switzerland in top 10 in 2012 PISA survey (mathematics)

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I think this result only surprises those who still insist that Switzerland is a quaint little farmers country that needs to import all that many foreigners to tell them how it's done.

Some skepticism of the results is certainly warranted, .
Not at all, but Switzerland does need to import all that many foreigners. Denying or ignoring that is plain arrogance, as the rest of your post.
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Old 04.12.2013, 12:19
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Re: Switzerland in top 10 in 2012 PISA survey (mathematics)

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Not at all, but Switzerland does need to import all that many foreigners. Denying or ignoring that is plain arrogance, as the rest of your post.

They could outsource the work to Pakistan .I would love to be a farmer
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Old 04.12.2013, 15:07
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Re: Switzerland in top 10 in 2012 PISA survey (mathematics)

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In the case of Switzerland there is some data that could give some information on the error rate for the year 2011 (let's assume the distribution into the different sections is approximately the same for all years): The estimated population in the age of 15 in Switzerland is 87'265. Of these 63'167 were in obligatory school, 8'461 are in grammar school. In this case at least 82% of the pupils would be in a school at which they could be "PISA eligible". 11'656 (or ~13.4%) would be in another school that might or might not be tested within PISA, while the remaining 2855 (or ~3.3%) do...well, who knows what. So there is, as in many countries, a significant possibility for errors.
I think the age here is a possible issue:

PISA is actually given to students aged 15 years and 3 months to 16 years and 2 months at the time of the test (not at a specific grade level, by the way).

Since the test is only given to students who are in full-time education, older 15 year olds and 16 year olds in this group should be primarily those who are continuing their education (higher performing children). In contrast, compulsory schooling in the US and UK ends later (between 16 and 18), with virtually all students in this age group (15-16) being in full-time education. So, this is one level of bias.

Also, if I understand correctly, students at this age either move on to vocational training or general education training. Are both considered full time education? Is a combined work/education program considered full time? As I understand, about 80% of apprenticeship programs are "dual" (work/school) VET programs, and would possibly not be considered full time (i.e. hair dressers, commercial employees, retail, cooks, etc.). The other 20% would encompass "full-time VET" programs.

Based on the 2000 PISA data, only 46% of students were in vocational training the year after the PISA was taken vs. 27% in general education (aka gymnasium) (and another 23% in their 10th school year and 4% who did not continue their education).

That translates into (ignoring those who are in their 10th school year, despite the possibility that this is another way of saying gymnasium, we'll categorize them as not leaving compulsory studies): 60% into vocational school, 35% into gymnasium, 5% no further education.

This seems a bit skewed compared to the official statistics on students that left compulsory studies in 2001 (so that's the same cohort), in which about 75% enrolled in a VET program 71,900 of 95500) and 25% enrolled in general education (gymnasium) (23,600 of 95500).

It's not to say that the Swiss school system is good or bad, but merely to say that there are some statistical issues here that could influence the rankings.

We certainly agree that it is a generally good system and that there is always room for improvement

http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.c...act_id=1378375
http://www.sbfi.admin.ch/aktuell/med...01323/?lang=en
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Old 04.12.2013, 17:18
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Re: Switzerland in top 10 in 2012 PISA survey (mathematics)

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I think the age here is a possible issue:

PISA is actually given to students aged 15 years and 3 months to 16 years and 2 months at the time of the test (not at a specific grade level, by the way).

Since the test is only given to students who are in full-time education, older 15 year olds and 16 year olds in this group should be primarily those who are continuing their education (higher performing children).
And the ones that are not able to finish their education in minimum time...

But yes, this exactly one of the major problems with this programme.


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In contrast, compulsory schooling in the US and UK ends later (between 16 and 18), with virtually all students in this age group (15-16) being in full-time education. So, this is one level of bias.
At least in theory. I do not know about the U.S, but the U.K had huge issues with their participation rate in the past:

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‘A minimum response rate of 85% was required for the schools initially selected’, the PISA report asserted (p. 235); this was achieved in almost all countries: for example, for France, Germany, Hungary, Switzerland, the average school-response rate was 95%; but for the UK it was only 61%! The missing schools on the whole were probably low-attaining schools; and there must be grave suspicions of upward bias in the average score of responding schools as a result of such a low response rate. [...]

By the age of 15, pupils in English schools are mostly divided for mathematics lessons into several ‘attainment-sets’ (between three and ten ‘sets’, usually) directed broadly to the ‘tiers’ of the GCSE mathematics examination for which they are expected to enter. School attendance by this age is often very irregular in the lower attainment-sets, with some pupils attending only rarely (if at all) [32]. For the PISA test, 35 pupils were selected for each of the 155 participating schools; of the sampled pupils, an average of 81% participated in England. This was the lowest pupil-participation rate for any of the countries in the survey; it may be compared, for example, with an average pupil-participation rate of 92% for France, Germany, Hungary and Switzerland.
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Also, if I understand correctly, students at this age either move on to vocational training or general education training. Are both considered full time education? Is a combined work/education program considered full time? As I understand, about 80% of apprenticeship programs are "dual" (work/school)
I think it should be counted as full time education. The eduction is just split up between education by the company, the school and courses, so I would call it full-time. I don't know if and how the vocational schools were approached for PISA in Switzerland.

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VET programs, and would possibly not be considered full time (i.e. hair dressers, commercial employees, retail, cooks, etc.). The other 20% would encompass "full-time VET" programs.
I don't see any problem in hair dressers, cooks or commercial employees being counted in. They have a vocational school as well.


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Based on the 2000 PISA data, only 46% of students were in vocational training the year after the PISA was taken vs. 27% in general education (aka gymnasium) (and another 23% in their 10th school year and 4% who did not continue their education).
Unfortunately I could not find these number, as I could not access your first source. I have two questions regarding these numbers:
  1. Are these percentages calculated for students that took the PISA test, for pupils that would be "PISA eligible" or for all students?
  2. In case they apply to all students, how was the data collected?

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That translates into (ignoring those who are in their 10th school year, despite the possibility that this is another way of saying gymnasium, we'll categorize them as not leaving compulsory studies): 60% into vocational school, 35% into gymnasium, 5% no further education.
It's a separate program, as preparation for an apprenticeship.

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This seems a bit skewed compared to the official statistics on students that left compulsory studies in 2001 (so that's the same cohort), in which about 75% enrolled in a VET program 71,900 of 95500) and 25% enrolled in general education (gymnasium) (23,600 of 95500).
In the linked PDF it is written that these numbers are referring to pupils that left "compulsory education". I assume most of them finished the degree, although it would for many of them not be compulsory to attend any more after their 9th year of schooling. Are those counted in or not? Because there are cut-off dates and pupils who had to repeat classes (e.g. because of recent immigration) and will finish the school with 15, 16 or 17. Additionally there are pupils who will do an apprenticeship after either finishing or dropping out of the Gymnasium where they actually finished their "compulsory eduction" (i.e. 9th year of schooling). So I am not sure if we can compare these numbers to anything related to PISA which has, as you pointed out, a strict age frame.

TL;DR: Are you sure it is the same cohort?

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It's not to say that the Swiss school system is good or bad, but merely to say that there are some statistical issues here that could influence the rankings.
Yes, there are huge statistical issues with PISA, I agree.

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We certainly agree that it is a generally good system and that there is always room for improvement
I agree, now we only have to define what we think is an "improvement" and how we want to achieve it
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