Achievement of 15 Year Olds in Wales: PISA 2015

Key outcomes for Wales

(as taken from the Executive Summary)

Achievement in science

The average PISA science score for Wales in 2015 was 485. This is 20 points lower than the average in 2006 (505).

Achievement in mathematics

The average PISA mathematics score for Wales in 2015 was 478. The average score has fluctuated over the last decade, but is at a similar level in 2015 as it was in 2006 (484).

Achievement in reading

The average PISA reading score for Wales in 2015 was 477. This has remained stable since 2006 (481).

Although there are clear socio-economic differences in 15-year-olds’ PISA scores, socio-economic inequality is actually much lower in Wales than the rest of the UK, and compared to most other countries across the world. In Wales, the gap between pupils from the most and least advantaged 25 per cent of families in Wales is around 50 test points in science. This is much smaller than the average across industrialised countries (88 points). However, this small gap is at least partly driven by the comparatively weak academic performance of pupils from the most advantaged socio-economic backgrounds in Wales relative to their equally advantaged socio-economic peers in other industrialised countries.

Read Education Secretary, Kirsty Williams’ response here:

Access the PISA Report here:

One thought on “Achievement of 15 Year Olds in Wales: PISA 2015

  1. I think a deep breath is needed before the PISA results are considered. There are clearly issues with the validity of these tests, even setting aside their partial nature. In relation to the latter, why not test arts and creative subjects? Particularly as they are now so important in employment terms, and especially in Wales with its expanding media industry. If we are looking for vocational fitness for purpose in our education system, this should be a consideration by the politicians.
    The tests themselves are just that – exam-type short answer tests. As we know, these test only certain abilities and lower levels of cognitive skill; once again, not much room for higher order problem solving or thinking, or creativity.
    Reliability also becomes an issue as it is reported that lower level pupils are excluded from tests in some countries – the ones who now find themselves at the top of the PISA tables as it happens. There are also reports that only high achieving schools in some countries were entered.
    For me the litmus test is Finland. Regarded by all who know as the best education system in the world, Finland is slipping down the PISA tables. Why, because it does not take these tests very seriously.
    In education, I think we need to tell the truth to power about PISA in Wales.


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