Media information: Immediate Release
PISA - Show's over: international study exposes government standards charade
Final straw for government's education record: world's most comprehensive assessment of pupil knowledge and skills crushes UK government claims of rising school standards.
PISA results show declining standards between 2000 and 2006:
In contrast to:
Government results show rising standards at all expected levels between 2000 and 2006:
Results from the OECD's Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) released today, provide conclusive evidence that whilst government exam scores have been rising, standards have in fact sunk under New Labour.
'These devastating results provide a much-needed and much-anticipated expose of the government's standards "charade",' said Anastasia de Waal, Head of Family and Education at the independent think tank, Civitas. 'That standards have actually declined amongst UK pupils is unsurprising when we consider that much ostensible improvement has been achieved through harmful shortcuts.
'Suspicions were roused when the UK was not included in the 2003 PISA. The UK's response rate was such that the sampling standards were not met. Academic commentary at the time perceived this to be because schools with poor results did not participate. PISA's damning verdict for 2006 shows that those suspicions were warranted.'
The chasm between the government's alleged improvement and independent measures has developed as higher test scores have been achieved artificially by gaming schools and pupils for exams and lowering exam standards.
PISA's results for the UK are the culmination of extensive evidence showing that government claims of constantly improving school standards are contradicted by independent measures.
Several robust independent measures have shown that New Labour's progress in both secondary and primary school test and exam results is inflated. For example:
Government statistics: Since 1997, the percentage of pupils at Key Stage 2 reaching the expected level or higher has increased from 63% to 80% in English, from 62% to 77% in maths and from 69% to 88% in science.
Key Stage 3: Since 1997, the number of pupils reaching the expected levels or higher has risen from 57% to 73% in English, from 60% to 76% for maths and from 60% to 72% for science.
GCSE: Since 1997, the number of pupils achieving 5 or more A*-C grades has risen from 46.3% to 61.5%.
A-level: Since 1997, the number of A-level passes has risen from 87.2% of all A-level entries, to 96.9%.
Key Stage 3:
PISA's results, supported by other independent measures, show that rising test and exam results in the UK not only do not equate with higher standards of knowledge and skills, but that their achievement has often involved lowering standards. The methods which the government has encouraged to achieve many of its results, show a much greater commitment to Public Service Agreement targets than to pupils.
The government will doubtless argue that the 2006 PISA data cannot be compared with the data from 2000. However, PISA clearly states its assessment as designed to allow countries to "…track their progress in meeting key learning goals".
Whilst the science data between 2000 and 2006 are not comparable, the reading and maths data are valid measures of trends over time.
'The government must finally take responsibility for the failure it has covered up until now,' concludes Anastasia de Waal.
For more information ring:
Anastasia de Waal, Head of Family and Education: 020 7799 6677 (w), 07930 354234 (mobile)
For more information e-mail CIVITAS on: firstname.lastname@example.org