Wales underperform in International Assessment

18 March, 2011

Programme for International Student Assessment

The best approach to take for the future is “back to basics”

New research has shown that Welsh teenagers are not performing as well as other home nations students in the core subjects, and are also below the international average.

A study carried out by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development found that Wales is lagging behind Eastern European countries such a Estonia in all key skills.

The research involved half-a-million 15-year-old students from 65 countries. In Wales, students from 132 schools took part in the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa), which investigated how students use their knowledge and skills rather than just check how well they can repeat facts and figures.

According to the findings, Wales scored just 472 points for maths, below Latvia, Lithuania and the international average of 496. Figures for reading were also low.

Leighton Andrews, the education minister, said a “systematic failure” was the reason for the poor results.

And he unveiled new plans for Pisa tests to be integrated into school assessments at the age of 15.

But chief inspector Ann Keane said the plans may not improve the results, raising the point that if pupils can not decipher the questions, it will be difficult for them to answer properly.

And she suggested the best approach to take for the future is “back to basics”.