OECD shows need for self-belief

OECD shows need for self-belief

This month I attended a conference at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), in Paris, France.

The discussion focused on the OECD-led examination, the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa).

Since 2000, this two-hour test of reading, mathematics and science has been taken once every three years by students aged 15, chosen at random from schools worldwide.

As a political science student, I was keen to visit the OECD - an international organisation helping the governments of 34"like-minded" nations, such as the United States, France and Sweden, deal with economic, social and governance (the running of a country or business) issues in a global economy.

After collecting my delegate's pass, I walked into a hi-tech seminar room. But sadly, the talks didn't focus on the Pisa 2012 results, such as why Shanghai scored so highly on all three components of the test, or how successful the results are at reflecting global inequality. They focused on small details such as how to carry out the Pisa process.

I admit I was slightly disappointed as I left the meeting and picked up this month's Pisa newsletter called Do students have the drive to succeed?

Pisa results suggest students can reach their full potential only when they believe they are in control of their success and can achieve their goals.

Do you agree with the idea that "If I put in enough effort, I can succeed in mathematics?" Well, among the best-performing OECD-nation students, those who strongly agreed with the statement performed better - gaining a 36-point advantage over those who disagreed.

No doubt, we probably already know that hard work and practice go a long way towards contributing to our achievements - not only academic targets.

Yet the data shows almost one in two students from OECD nations tend to "give up easily when confronted with a problem".

Only one in three said that they "like to solve complex problems".

Achieving success seems a two-part process: first, you must believe in your ability; second, you put in the effort. But we often worry about this first step, then try to escape and delay taking any action.

I think we should take matters into our own hands by embracing our life goals more fully. To me, my OECD trip confirmed the power of self-belief.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
OECD shows need for self-belief

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