Shanghai smarts

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Shanghai is home to the smartest students in the world, according to a new survey.

The 15-year-olds in China's biggest city are still the best on the planet at reading, maths and science.

But Hong Kong's own students are not so far behind, earning a ranking of second in both science and reading - up from third and fourth in 2009 - and third place for maths.

However, there is some cause for concern as compared with students in Singapore - second in maths, and third in science and reading - Hong Kong pupils improved less.

Professor Esther Ho Sui-chu, director of the Centre for International Student Assessment in Hong Kong, says this isn't something to worry about: "I think the differences in improvement are not very important."

Such differences are because of the way cities treated the assessment," she says. "I don't know how Shanghai and Singapore did the assessment, but Hong Kong students did not prepare for the assessment and took it in a relaxed way."

The latest three-yearly report by the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) was based on surveys of more than half a million 15-year-olds in 65 countries and regions.

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