Firstly, this shows that the average performance in each country is largely as we would expect, with the lowest average score at 418 in Ethiopia (82 points below the cross-country mean); India in the middle with 489 (11 points below the cross-country mean), and the highest average score at 586 in Vietnam (86 points above the cross-country mean).
What does this mean in a wider context? Imagine that 600 on our scale is approximately equivalent to the OECD mean on the PISA scale[ii]. Based on this estimation, 2% of students in Ethiopia, 10% in India and 45% in Vietnam are performing at a level comparable to average OECD performance in Maths. This gives us a sense of how students in our sample are performing on an international scale – but the aim of our cross-country analysis is not to rank Ethiopia, India and Vietnam in relation to each other, or to other countries. Instead, our aim is to learn more about potential similarities and differences within and across school systems – this graph highlights the differences between the countries, but importantly also indicates the overlaps in student performance across these diverse contexts.
Maths performance by location
Who are the students whose test scores overlap between the three countries? To answer this question, we began by identifying the most and least advantaged areas across the Young Lives sites, based on existing Young Lives data. The most advantaged area in our Ethiopia sample is Addis Ababa; in our India sample, the least advantaged sites are in rural areas and the most advantaged sites are in urban areas[iii]; and in our Vietnam sample, the least advantaged sites are in Lao Cai province. The graph below shows more information on the overlaps between the countries by presenting the distribution of student Maths performance in each of these areas.