PISA results 2015 – Singapore tops the latest global survey & UK students trail behind

Expert reaction to the latest PISA results which continue to show UK teenagers are trailing behind other leading countries in education and have made little progress in international rankings since previous results at the end of 2013.

The UK report can be seen here.

The full press release with links to the report and speech can be seen here.

Comment from Professor Sam Twiselton, director of Sheffield Hallam University’s Sheffield Institute of Education:

“If we are going to achieve profound change in educational standards in the UK, it has to start with good quality teaching in all schools delivered by subject and age phase experts.

“While the underlying causes of low educational attainment are complex, many studies have shown that the key to success lies in improving the standard of classroom teaching.

“Without systematic and long-term strategic planning of Initial Teacher Education (ITE) and early career support and development there will continue to be some areas that cannot secure and retain the best and most appropriately qualified teachers in all the subjects and phases that are needed.

“Universities – such as the Sheffield Institute of Education – can be a key part of this solution, working with school partners to provide highly trained subject and age phase experts whilst also offering the early career support the teachers need to flourish and remain in the profession.”

Comment from Alan Smithers, Director Centre of Education & Employment Research, University of Buckingham:

“Maths, once again, emerges as the Achilles’ heel of the British education system. A quick fix as far as the international tables are concerned would be to train our pupils on the tests. But successive governments have been right to concentrate on the fundamentals. They must be disappointed at the slow progress. But, of course, years of underperformance in maths have left us very short of good teachers in the subject.”

Comment from John Jerrim, Reader in Educational and Social Statistics, UCL – Institute of Education:

“We need to look beyond the headline figures and ‘rankings’ from international assessments such as PISA to really understand what these studies can (and cannot) tell us. The PISA 2015 results highlights the success of England’s highest achieving pupils and the high share of pupils in England who say they are interested in a career in science. It also raises some challenges, such headteachers’ concerns about teacher supply. It is these more detailed results that really help us to understand what is happening within our education system, and why PISA is a valuable study to us all.”

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