The long-awaited results of the latest Pisa study reveal that the UK’s scores were down in science, maths and reading.
However, this country’s 15-year-olds were not alone in experiencing a poorer performance in the 2015 tests, taken in 72 countries, compared with the previous Pisa, released in 2012.
The average scores for the developed countries that are members of the OECD also fell in all three subject areas. This meant that the UK actually rose to 15th in the Pisa rankings for science – the main focus for this year’ study – despite its score dropping from 515 to 509.
The UK came 27th in maths, down one place compared with 2012, and rose one place in reading to 22nd place, finishing above China.
All of the individual UK countries saw their scores drop in science compared with 2012. England and Scotland watched their maths scores fall, while in Northern Ireland and Wales these scores rose.
In reading, England recorded the same score as in 2012, while the other three UK countries achieved lower scores.
Shanghai, as mainland China’s representative, had finished top in all three subject areas in both the previous two Pisa studies in 2012 and 2009. But in the latest study – with the addition of Beijing, Jiangsu and Guangdong – the mainland Chinese entry witnessed all scores drop and its ranking slipped to 10th in science, sixth in maths and 27th in reading.
However, East Asian school systems continued to take all six top spots in maths. Singapore topped all three tables, and Estonia came third in science. The Republic of Ireland and Canada also saw encouraging rankings.