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Dubai, January 16, 2017 – Uniting in their effort to achieve goals outlined in the UAE national agenda (Vision 2021), school principals in Dubai came together to discuss the future of international assessments at an event hosted by Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) on Monday.

Emirati students have improved across the board in TIMSS 2015 international assessments and the improvements were more pronounced in Grade 4, as compared with Grade 8, in both science and maths.

In new data announced by KHDA, the performance of Dubai private schools among Grade 8 TIMSS was rated on par with schools in the 15th high performing countries. In PISA 2015, Dubai private schools have performed similar to schools in 20th high performing countries, in reading and in science.

Dr Abdulla Al Karam, Director General of KHDA, said, “School leaders have played a very important role in our journey to work towards achieving the UAE national agenda goals and the latest international assessment results are a reflection of their hard work. Together with the teachers, students and parents, we have to continue in this journey and make significant progress.”

Dr Abdulla Al Karam added, “Creativity and innovation together with positive education have had an impact on students and teachers in Dubai and this is reflected in the international assessment results. A positive learning environment at school can support academic achievement and promote the wellbeing of students and teachers.”

Confidence, a sense of belonging and an enjoyment of the subject have an impact on how well students perform in science, results from international assessment PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) show.

Dr Rabaa Al Sumaiti, executive director of international assessments at KHDA, said, “The close alignment between school inspection ratings and international assessment results means that we are able to have an annual, accurate measure of schools’ progress with the UAE National Agenda targets. This alignment also gives international validation to Dubai school inspections, and provides parents, school leaders and investors with essential insight on school quality in Dubai.”

Students in Dubai’s private schools who said they were happy while working on science topics scored an average of 504, which is 42 points higher than students who said the opposite. Likewise, students who said they felt a sense of belonging to their school scored 26 points higher than students who felt they did not belong.

Further evidence from PISA showed that students’ self-confidence in science was linked to their test scores. Students who believed in their ability to achieve goals and complete tasks scored higher than students who had less confidence.

The latest cycle of PISA results aligned closely with findings from the Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau (DSIB) and students attending schools rated Outstanding scored significantly higher than students at schools rated Acceptable or Weak.

Dubai Schools TIMSS Results 2015

All Dubai Schools Mathematics Grade 4 Science Grade 4 Mathematics Grade 8 Science Grade 8
2007 444 460 461 489
2011 468 461 478 485
2015 511 518 512 525

* International Average 500 points

Dubai Schools PISA Results 2015

Dubai Private Schools Science Reading
2009 486 479
2012 491 485
2015 497 493
OECD Average 493 493


– KHDA Media