High school students in Australia have entered a rare category - they are among the world's best academic all-rounders.

OECD data shows that more students in Australia achieve high levels in maths, reading and science than their counterparts in most other countries.

On average across OECD countries, 16.3 per cent of students are top performers in at least one of the subject areas of science, mathematics and reading but only 4.1 per cent are top performers in all three.

In Australia however more than 8 per cent of students are high-achieving all-rounders.

The OECD analysis was based on international tests among 15 year-olds across 65 countries.

It showed that Shanghai-China had the highest numbers of academic all-rounders at 14.6 per cent, followed by Singapore with 12.3 per cent.

New Zealand is ahead of Australia with 9.9 per cent. In Hong Kong and in Japan 8.4 per cent of students are good all rounders.

In Australia 8.1 per cent of the students tested were top performers across all three subjects.

This puts Australia ahead of the UK where just 4.6 per cent of of students were considered all-rounders - just slightly higher than the OECD average.

A briefing note published by the OECD says that academic all-rounders are rare.

"To satisfy the growing demand for high-level skills in knowledge-based 21st-century economies, school systems need to increase the proportion of their students who are top performers," it said.

 

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