In the latest batch of PISA results, released today, mapping the scores for studying against the time that students spend learning were around the area: In terms of reading evaluation score points of learning each hour students came out on top, followed by kids in Sweden and Germany. In such areas, students”learn a great deal in very little time,” Schleicher said.

China, Singapore, and the US ranked a little below it, although canada, Japan, and the UK came out above the OECD average. At the opposite end of the scale, students in the United Arab Emirates spent the time analyzing of any country but their test scores were comparatively low. Pupils in some areas, like Singapore and Hong Kong, invest a lot of time learning both in and outside of school, and it shows they are leading performers in PISA.

Others invest a lot of time studying but get results; the endless lessons and homework don’t appear to produce benefits.

But countries like Finland–where school begins at age seven, there’s not much homework, and children don’t take high-stakes tests (therefore there is no need for expensive tutoring)–students test well while putting in fewer hours of research. Andreas Schleicher, head of the education unit at the OECD, calls this”learning productivity”

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