Scottish students perform poorly in international exam

By Martin Tighe

SCOTLAND has received the results from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and has seen its students perform just above above average compared with the other participating nations – but there has been a significant drop in standard since the last results.

The triennial survey, conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), tests the skills and knowledge of 15-year-old students in 72 countries throughout the world in literacy, numeracy and science.  Particular attention will be paid to this latest report in Scotland as there have been considerable changes to the high school curriculum since the last results were announced in 2013.

Scottish students scored 497 points in science – four points above the OECD average of 493.  In numeracy, our students scored 491 compared to the average of 490.  And in literacy the Scottish students equalled the average score of 493 points.

The comparisons with the previous results are clear and show that there has been a drop in performance across all three subjects.  There was a drop of sixteen points in science, from 513.  In numeracy, the score dropped from 498.  Literacy also saw a drop in performance from 506 points.

Scotland’s Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “The results underline the case for radical reform of Scotland’s educational system.”

The United Kingdom as a whole saw mixed results.  The UK is now ranked 27th in numeracy, down one place from 2013.  However, there were improvements in literacy and science – moving up one place to 22nd and six places to 15th respectively.

Top performers in the survey were students from Singapore, Japan and Estonia who claimed the top three spots.

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