PISA 2018 results reveal maths improvement

2019-12-09

Performance in mathematics across English schools has improved drastically since 2015, according to the 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) results.


The latest results, from the influential international study, paint a positive picture for maths teaching, although performance in science and reading has remained constant.


The UK now ranks in 18th position globally for maths teaching, up from 27th when the tests were last carried out in 2015, while reading has improved from 22nd to 14th position.


More than 5,000 pupils, aged 15, from 170 schools across England completed the tests, and the results have since been analysed by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER).


The key performance results

According to the 2018 results, the overall mean score for performance in maths showcased a “statistically significant increase” over the three year period.


The point score now stands at 504, up from 493 in 2015, with a major portion of the rise being attributed to better performance from boys.


However, the results for both reading and science were deemed to not be statistically significant, with scores rising from 500 to 505 in reading, and dropping from 512 to 507 in science.


Although there hasn’t been a significant change in the data since 2006, it’s also important to note that England performs “significantly higher” than the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) average in both areas.


Positive signals

The results represent “positive signals” for the UK, according to Andreas Schleicher, head of the OECD’s education and skills directorate.


“On the cognitive aspects, reading and maths, on some of the classroom environment variables, I don’t think this is a big sign of progress, but it is a positive signal that there is momentum in the system,” he explained.


He added that teachers should be given more time for research and collaboration, as those two factors could have a major influence on long-term success in education.


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