Romania Scores Low in PISA Tests Once Again: Second to Last in EU

Romanian students are at proficiency level 2, considered critical.

Romania has once again scored low in PISA tests, with only Bulgaria ranking lower within the European Union. The country fails to surpass the overall proficiency level 2, considered a critical level. Nearly half of the students struggle to comprehend what they read.

The average scores of Romanian students in 2022 were similar to those recorded in 2018 in mathematics, reading, and science. In mathematics, the average scores in 2022 were lower than those in 2012 and 2015. In reading and science, the results in this latest PISA cycle were comparable to those obtained in previous PISA assessments since 2012. Thus, the average performance over the last decade in these two areas can be described as stable.

Romania achieved a total score of 428 points, indicating proficiency level 2. Romania demonstrates that it is one of the lowest-rated countries in terms of education, with students lacking the minimum required competencies. The testing involved 15-year-old students.

Romanian students scored lower than the OECD average in mathematics, reading, and science. A smaller proportion of Romanian students, compared to the OECD country average, achieved high-level performance – level 5 or 6. Additionally, the percentage of Romanian students reaching at least the minimum competency level (level 2) was lower than the OECD country average in all three domains.

In Romania, 51% of students reached at least level 2 competency in mathematics, significantly lower than the OECD average (69%). Students at this level can interpret and recognize, without direct instructions, how a simple situation can be represented mathematically (e.g., comparing the total distance on two alternative routes or converting prices into a different currency). Over 85% of students in Singapore, Macao (China), Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan (China), and Estonia performed at this level or higher. Approximately 4% of Romanian students had high performance – reaching level 5 or 6 in mathematics (the OECD average was 9%). Six Asian countries and economies had the highest proportions of students with superior performance: Singapore (41%), Taiwan – China (32%), Macao – China (29%), Hong Kong* (27%), Japan (23%), and Korea (23%). At this level, students can build mathematical models of complex situations and can select, compare, and evaluate appropriate problem-solving strategies. Only in 16 out of 81 countries and economies participating in PISA 2022 did the percentage of students reaching level 5 or 6 exceed the 10% threshold.

Approximately 58% of students in Romania reached at least level 2 in reading (the OECD average was 74%). These students can identify the main idea in a moderately long text, find information based on explicit, sometimes complex criteria, and can reflect on the purpose and form of texts when explicitly asked to do so. The percentage of 15-year-old students reaching at least the minimum competency level in reading (level 2) varied from 89% in Singapore to 8% in Cambodia. In Romania, 2% of students achieved results at level 5 or 6 in reading (the OECD average was 7%). These students can understand long texts, address abstract concepts, and differentiate facts from opinions, using implicit clues about the content or source of information.

Minister of Education, Ligia Deca, announced on Tuesday that Romania’s results in PISA 2022 have remained at the same level as in 2018, noting that, unlike other countries, our country did not experience significant declines in student performance.

We know that Romania’s results in PISA 2022 have remained at approximately the same level as in 2018. For example, in mathematics, the OECD proportion of students at level 2 or above of proficiency decreased by seven percentage points, from 76% in 2018 to 69% in 2022, while our country’s results remained stable. Unlike many other states, Romania did not experience significant declines in student performance. This comes after two years of a pandemic, two years marked by interruptions in the traditional educational process. This demonstrates that we have a resilient education system, and our country has managed, through the comprehensive measures taken, to limit the effects of the pandemic,’ explained Ligia Deca, as quoted by

She added that the main credit for this goes to teachers, students, and parents, who ‘during that period made every necessary effort to ensure that students continue their learning.'”

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  • Panagiotis Spyridis

    This is not good. A Nation without education is a week nation.