How good is education for us

International comparative studies

In recent years Germany has participated in several important international performance comparisons in the school sector. This includes in particular the survey of the OECD "Program for International Student Assessment" (PISA), as well as the surveys "International Elementary School Reading Study" (IGLU) and "Trends in Mathematics and Science Study" (TIMSS), both of which are carried out by the international Research organization IEA (International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement). The PISA test was last carried out in 2015. The results were published in December 2016. TIMSS was also last surveyed in 2015 and presented at the end of 2016, IGLU a year later.

The results of these performance comparisons, especially the publication of the results from the first PISA 2000 survey known as the “PISA shock”, have uncovered central weaknesses in the German education system. According to this, German schoolchildren only achieved average performance in key areas such as reading, mathematics or natural sciences. In addition, there is hardly any other industrialized country where socio-economic origins have so much to do with school success and educational opportunities as in Germany.

In the years after PISA 2000, the federal government and the state governments responsible for school policy initiated a series of measures, for example the common educational standards and regular comparative work for all federal states, the all-day school program and research on early childhood language support. In some cases, these measures have had an impact: For example, it was possible to significantly reduce the proportion of underperforming students - i.e. those who do very poorly in the PISA tests. The average performance in all three test subjects also improved continuously until 2012. Since then, however, the trend has been declining again.

However, other problems remain to this day: Children and young people with a migration background still do worse than their peers without a migration background. Likewise, the dependence of student performance on the socio-economic background of the parental home is still higher than in many other countries. The proportion of particularly high-performing students is also significantly lower than elsewhere. If we want to secure future opportunities for the young generation in Germany, the educational system in Germany must lead more children and young people to higher educational qualifications - regardless of their origin.