But there was a decline in science, shared by some of the highest-performing countries in the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa), which compares the results from 600,000 15-year-olds taking tests across 79 countries.
A joint entry from the four Chinese provinces of Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang topped all three subjects (maths, reading and science). Estonia was the highest performing country in Europe.
In maths, England achieved an average score of 504, up 11 points from the previous Pisa cycle in 2015. That leaves England ranked 17th, just one place behind Finland and up from 26th in 2015; but behind countries including Estonia, Poland and the seven top-ranked East Asian systems.
Angela Donkin, chief social scientist at the National Foundation for Educational Research, which delivered the Pisa tests in England, said the results were less positive than they could have been, given recent reforms to England’s education system.
“Scores in reading and science have not improved as significantly as you would expect given the focus on improving standards in these subjects,” she said.
“There has been significant investment in Stem and reading – across this cohort’s lifetime, there has been literacy teaching hubs, a stronger focus on phonics, but we have not seen a significant change.
Found out who’s up and who’s down in the worlds education league tables England climbs Pisa table as reading and maths improve
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