22 October 2020

CUHK Releases the Results of the Global Competence Assessment in
the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2018



The EdDataX Research Centre at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) releases the survey results of Global Competence (GC) domain in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2018 today (22 October). The results reveal that Hong Kong 15-year-old students ranked third in the cognitive test amongst the 27 participating countries/economies, with a mean score of 542 which is higher than the average score of 474 of all participating countries/economies. 

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) defined global competence as a multi-dimensional capacity that incorporates the ability to (a) Examine issues of local, global and cultural significance, (b) Understand and appreciate the perspectives and worldviews of others, (c) Engage in open, appropriate and effective interactions across cultures, and (d) Take action for collective well-being and sustainable development. PISA assesses students’ global competence knowledge, skills, attitudes and values through a cognitive test (participated in by 27 countries/economies) and a set of questionnaire items (participated in by 66 countries/economies). 

Hong Kong students’ outstanding achievement in GC cognitive knowledge and skills 

Survey results reveal that Hong Kong students outperformed the participating countries/economies in the GC cognitive test, ranking the third, with Singapore and Canada placed first and second. 

The result also showed that among the high academic achieving countries/economies, Hong Kong had the highest percentage of students having global issues covered in the curriculum. Hong Kong students performed exceptionally well on awareness of public health issues, ranking top amongst all participating countries/economies. Hong Kong also enjoyed a similar benefit as our counterparts in Singapore, Macau and Estonia in having a high percentage of students who can speak two or more languages at home and in schools rather than those in Canada and U.K. A high percentage of multiple languages at home is conducive to the development of student global competence. Migrants in Hong Kong also performed outstandingly in GC, better than the natives in various aspects such as perspective taking and cognitive adaptability. In general, migrant students have helped Hong Kong become a more global and diversified city. 

Hong Kong students’ varying performance in various GC domains 

Analyses of comparisons with academically-high achieving countries/economies showed that students in Hong Kong performed varyingly in some other GC skills and attitudes. Thus, our students were only average in global mindedness, attitude towards immigrants, awareness of intercultural communication, self-efficacy on global issues, and maintenance of a non-discriminatory school climate. 

Prof. Hau stated, “Greater effort is needed to improve students’ interest in learning about other cultures, respect for people from other cultures, perspective taking, and cognitive flexibility/adaptability. Hong Kong principals and teachers agree that we have room to improve and create a multicultural and egalitarian learning culture in school.” 

About PISA 2018 

PISA, triennially organised by the OECD, aims to find out 15-year-old students’ competence in mother tongue reading, mathematics and science, with reading being the major assessment domain for PISA 2018. The project collects data on factors that can help explain differences in performance, and evaluate the effectiveness of the education system in participating countries/economics. 

Andreas Schleicher, OECD Director for Education and Skills, explained, “To do well in PISA, students have to be able to extrapolate from what they know, think across the boundaries of subject-matter disciplines, apply their knowledge creatively in novel situations and demonstrate effective learning strategies.” 

The EdDataX Research Centre at CUHK was commissioned to conduct the assessment from April to May 2018. A total of 6,037 students from 152 secondary schools in Hong Kong were randomly selected to complete the computer based assessments. The result on reading, mathematical and scientific literacy was announced in December last year.