Schooling systems can improve quickly. The performance of 15-year-olds in the Programme for International Student Assessment’s (PISA) internationally standardised tests shows this. For example Israel, Portugal, Greece and Japan all improved their reading performance by more than 20 PISA score points between 2006 and 2009. This is equivalent to about half a year’s schooling.
England’s (and the UK’s) mean score, in reading, mathematics and science, did not change significantly between 2006 and 2009 and was only average for reading and mathematics in 2009. Top-performing Shanghai-China, Korea and Finland also have high equity, having a much narrower gap than England between highest-scoring and lowest-scoring pupils.
Countries around the world see PISA as an essential tool for measuring their schooling systems against others and learning from the best.
PISA ran previously in 2000, 2003 and 2006. 65 countries took part in PISA 2009, including 34 OECD member countries and 25 members of the European Union.