UK improves in Pisa rankings but wellbeing falls

The UK rankings in reading, maths and science have risen according to the results of the Pisa tests released earlier this week.

For reading, the UK has risen to 14th, up from 22nd in the tests three years ago, whilst in science we progressed one ranking to 14th. Maths made the biggest gains moving from 27th to 18th, putting the UK in the top 20 for all three measurements.

The Pisa tests are run by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development every three years to test the ability of 15-year-olds in reading, maths and science. The tests are seen by some as an important measure of how the UK compares internationally.

However, despite the fluctuations in rankings, the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) said there has not been significant change in the actual scores for reading or science, which have remained similar since 2006. Education DataLab has also warned against over interpreting the data, the reliability of which it calls into question.

Moreover, despite the positive outcomes for students’ achievements, the tests found that UK teenagers had some of the lowest levels of life satisfaction, dropping 13 percentage points from the last tests. Students were more likely to say that they felt ‘worried or miserable’ regularly and were less likely to see ‘meaning’ in their lives. The OECD report identifies a correlation between ‘life satisfaction’ and a ‘fear of failing’.

Further Reading

BBC News – Pisa tests: UK rises in international school rankings

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