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Immigrants give France a poor education score card

France's immigrants have dragged the country down in the latest education ranking. It has sunk a total of five places since a previous report six years ago.

Published: December 7, 2016, 9:01 am

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    With the education system becoming overburdened by immigrants, the country has dropped two places to finish 27th out of 72 in the new Pisa education rankings, which were released on Tuesday.

    France’s pupils could only average 495 points, whilst the average among OECD countries measured 493.

    The skill level of high school students in France are similar to the US, Austria, Sweden, and Spain.

    But the education system has also received other poor score cards. Timss research group found French 10-year-old pupils to be at the bottom of the class in Europe when it comes to maths, and second last to Cyprus in science.

    A separate study last month found the French to be the worst English speakers in the EU.

    But the most noticable Pisa results were those based on the social origins of teenage pupils. In comparing groups with and without “disadvantaged backgrounds”, those coming from immigrant homes, euphimistically called “disadvantaged backgrounds” scored much lower.

    “The difference between these two groups is particularly noticeable in France, where the relationship between performance and socio-economic background of the students is one of the strongest among the countries that participated,” the study noted.

    “In other words, the more they come from disadvantaged areas, the less likely they will succeed in the Pisa evaluation.”

    France saw an incredible 20 percent variation in science performance due to these differences, compared to a 12.9 percent average across the OECD. Only two other countries in Europe had a higher variation.

    L’Express newspaper reported that immigrant children scored on average 87 points lower in sciences than their peers, compared to a 53-point difference in other OECD countries.

    Not even immigrant students from a second generation could improve their poor performance. They scored 50 points lower than their peers, compared to a 31 point gap in the OECD.

    Overall, France had 18.4 percent of students ranked as “top performers” in at least one subject, and 14.8 percent of students deemed “low achievers” in maths, reading, and science.

    Singapore came ou on top of the table for its teaching of science, reading and mathematics. Its students scored an average of 556 points, far above the 493 average for the OECD.

    The five top-performing countries in the PISA tests were Singapore, Japan, Estonia, Taiwan and Finland, all relatively homogenous countries.

    karin@praag.org

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