Vietnamese Students Excel in Mathematics

Among the nations in the ASEAN region, Vietnamese students excel in mathematics, securing the second position, just behind their Singaporean counterparts.


The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has released the results of the 2022 PISA Vietnam survey. These results were based on a survey of 6,068 students from 178 schools, representing approximately 939,500 15-year-old students in Vietnam, on their math, reading, and science skills.

According to the findings, Vietnamese students achieved an average math score of 438 points, which is one of the highest scores among students from similar socio-economic backgrounds. About 13% of disadvantaged students in Vietnam scored high in math.

Vietnamese students’ average scores in all three subjects ranked 34th out of 81 countries and territories, with math scores ranking 31st, science scores ranking 35th, and reading scores ranking 34th. These results place Vietnamese students second only to Singapore in the ASEAN region.

When considering socio-economic conditions using the PISA index, Vietnamese students outperformed American students in math and ranked among the highest group after Hong Kong, Taiwan (China), and South Korea.

Vietnam’s International Mathematics Olympiad Team in 2023 (Photo: MOET).

The top 6 countries with the highest student achievements in the PISA survey include Singapore, Japan, Republic of Korea, Estonia, Switzerland, and Canada.

The PISA report also found a positive correlation between higher education spending and higher math results. However, Vietnam stands out as an example of students achieving high academic results with relatively modest investment in education.

In Vietnam, the spending per student aged 6-15 is only about USD 13,800 (approximately VND 340 million), while other countries and territories spend around USD 75,000, which is 6 times more than in Vietnam.

According to the OECD, 72% of Vietnamese students achieve at least level 2 in math proficiency (compared to the OECD average of 69%). About 5% of Vietnamese students obtain the top results in math, reaching level 5 or 6 in the PISA math test (compared to the OECD average of 9%).

Approximately 77% of students in Vietnam reach reading level 2 or higher (compared to the OECD average of 74%). 1% of Vietnamese students score 5 or above in reading (compared to the OECD average of 7%).

About 79% of Vietnamese students achieve level 2 or higher in science subjects (compared to the OECD average of 76%). 2% of students reach level 5 or 6 (compared to the OECD average of 7%).

The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) measures the knowledge and skills of 15-year-old students in math, reading, and science. PISA tests assess students’ ability to solve complex problems, think critically, and communicate effectively.

Vietnam has participated in the PISA assessment programs since 2012. The 2022 PISA test was originally scheduled to be conducted in 2021 but was postponed by a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tracy Dao