That Germany's best ranked states had some of Europe's highest Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) results was "very welcome," she said while on the sidelines of a visit to Israel. "This is also an incentive for the other states," she added.
But Germany still faces significant challenges because the performance gap between the country's states was "clearly too large," she said. Too many types of schools are "problematic" and states must choose educational structures that work the best.
The former East German state of Saxony trounced the rest of the country in the standardized test results, joined by Bavaria and neighbouring Thuringia in producing the country's best pupils. Saxony came out ahead in three disciplines, the state's minister for education Roland Wöller told German radio broadcaster Deutschlandfunk on Tuesday morning ahead of the official announcement.
Some 57,000 German 15-year-olds took the triennial standardised test in 2006 to give authorities a glimpse into their academic capabilities. The first PISA test was conducted in 2000 and Germany's disappointing results put school policy under the spotlight.
The 2006 test focused on science, with more than half of the questions in the fields of physics, chemistry, biology and geology. One-fourth of the test focuses on reading and maths.