Results from international studies such as the recent OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) tend to be reported in the media in terms of national averages, with a focus on the ranking of participating countries. However, the disaggregation and analysis of data collected from various social groupings within countries provides an opportunity to investigate the extent to which countries support students from various minority groups to achieve equitable educational outcomes. In Australia, the gap between educational outcomes for Indigenous1 and non-Indigenous students at all levels of education has long been a concern (Long et al, 1999). In recent years, Indigenous education policy has placed a high priority on gathering data on educational outcomes as a way of monitoring the extent to which educational equity is being achieved for Indigenous students. While national data collections contain achievement data of students at primary school and in the post-compulsory years, less is known about the achievement and characteristics of 15-year-old Indigenous students. The PISA study provides a unique opportunity to collect data on this group of students and to compare their achievement with non-Indigenous Australian students and students from other countries. This summary paper provides results on some aspects of the findings from the PISA study, using primarily the data on the sampled Indigenous students. Secondly, it discusses the potential the results have for monitoring the improvement of education for Indigenous students.
Greenwood, Lisa; Frigo, Tracey; and Hughes, Paul, "Messages for Minority Groups in Australia from International Studies" (2002).