The analysis conducted by Cedefop and University of Warsaw experts compares the PISA 2018 results on the basic level of reading, mathematics and science skills of school pupils in Ukraine and the EU-27.

PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) is the largest international survey of students’ skills in the world and is conducted every three years in OECD countries as well as several others. It examines the practical application of knowledge and skills such as reading, mathematics and scientific reasoning.

The average PISA 2018 scores of Ukrainian students are lower than those of the majority of UE countries (including Poland, which is among the survey’s best performing countries). The results of students from Ukraine depend highly on the subject – they performed best in scientific reasoning and worst in mathematics. Ukrainian students reached similar reading skills scores as their cohorts from such countries as Greece, Slovakia or Luxembourg.

Socio-economic status is a determinant of students’ scores in all PISA participating countries. Ukrainian students have, on average, a lower socio-economic status than those in the EU and so their performance in reading or science is correspondingly lower. However, their mathematics scores are much lower than expected when considering countries’ socio-economic indicators.

A more optimistic picture concerns students’ ambitions – 15-year-olds from Ukraine indicate much more often than their EU counterparts that they would like to complete higher education. Additionally only a negligible percentage of Ukrainian students declare that  they want to leave school early, before completing secondary education.

The war in Ukraine has made it necessary for EU Member States to integrate many Ukrainian students into their national education systems. Due to lower skills in reading, mathematics and science, Ukrainian students may find it difficult to actively participate in classes. Learning in a new, foreign language is an additional difficulty. A great deal of attention should be paid to mathematics, with which Ukrainian 15-years-olds have considerable problems. The strong correlation between socio-economic status and PISA results indicates that supporting the integration of Ukrainian students into national education systems should be as important as providing them with safe and appropriate living conditions in EU Member States.

A positive aspect of integration can be seen in the attitudes of Ukrainian 15-year-olds, who more often than EU students declare a desire for completing higher education and less often wish to leave school with less than a secondary education. Thus, ambition and a positive attitude to learning may be the key to success for Ukrainian students in the EU.

The analysis is available at Cedefop’s website.