PISA 2018's 600,000 participating students (intended to represent 32 million 15-year-olds), were evaluated in science and mathematics, however reading was the main focus of the assessment, the OECD said.
Education director-general Datuk Amin Senin said based on the Pisa 2018 results, Malaysian students scored 415 points for reading while 440 and 438 points for mathematics and science respectively.
"Overall, Malaysia's achievement showed significant increase in all three domains".
"The results showed we are approaching the OECD average".
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The survey suggested that interventions should be made to the students of countries, like the Philippines, where relationship between a student's socio-economic status and performance is strong.
The OECD average was 487 in reading, and 489 in mathematics and science.
In reading performance, non-immigrant 15-year-old students outperformed immigrant students by 83 score points, or 54 score points if adjusting for the students' socio-economic background, suggesting that more work needs to be done to help integrate newly arrived students from other parts of the world.
For reading and mathematics, Danish students' development has remained stable, although boys did slightly worse in mathematics compared to 2015, while girls fared a little better.
Amin said the Pisa 2018 which involved 6,111 participants selected to represent 388,638 of 15-year-old students in the country, also showed that they only read when they were forced to or for a specific objective rather than as an interest.
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"The findings also showed that students only read when they are forced to, or for a specific reason, not as an interest".
"Reading proficiency is essential for a wide variety of human activities - from following instructions in a manual; to finding out the who, what, when, where and why of an event; to communicating with others for a specific goal or transaction", said OECD.
"The three reading material enjoyed by students according to the survey are comics, and fictional and non-fictional books".
The maths skills of Australian students have slid back at least a year compared to their global counterparts, a new report says.
This outcome came despite expenditure per primary and secondary student rising by more than 15 per cent across OECD countries over the past decade.
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