Mathematics in Southern Europe: Mathematics Education and Performance, Through the Prism of PISA, in Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain


A mathematically literate student, according to PISA and OECD, recognizes the role that mathematics plays in the world in order to make well-founded judgments and decisions needed by constructive, engaged and reflective citizens. Among European countries who have participated in PISA since 2000 till today, the top performing countries in mathematical literacy are concentrated more in East and North Europe and as a consequence, researchers are showing more interest in these European regions. The analysis and research pertinent to the Southern European countries’ mathematical literacy competences of their 15-year-old students and their mathematics education systems is relatively scarce. The four Southern European countries that we will focus on this research are Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain. More specific, Italy, Portugal and Spain scored at a similar level in mathematics over the period 2009-2018. On the other hand, Portugal and Italy have both showed a significant improvement in mathematics performance of their students throughout their participation to PISA. In contrast, Greece appears to have a stable mean performance and has a difference of more than 30 points ranking below the other three countries over the period 2012-2018. This paper aims to record Greek, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish students’ mathematics achievements in PISA as they are formed over time. At the same time, it attempts to identify the similarities and differences of their educational systems with regard to their mathematics education and some reasons or factors that have led Southern European countries to these positions in PISA’s ranking.

Author Information
Eleni Nolka, Harokopio University of Athens, Greece
Chryssa Sofianopoulou, Harokopio University of Athens, Greece

Paper Information
Conference: ECE2022
Stream: Primary & Secondary Education

This paper is part of the ECE2022 Conference Proceedings (View)
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