Education: Teenagers

House of Lords written question – answered on 31st October 2011.

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Photo of Lord Ashcroft Lord Ashcroft Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development study showing British teenagers to be 18 months behind Chinese teenagers and one year behind those from South Korea or Finland in terms of educational attainment.

Photo of Lord Hill of Oareford Lord Hill of Oareford The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

The relative performance of pupils in English schools in the OECD's Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) trails behind that of their peers in high-performing systems such as Shanghai, Korea and Finland. Analysis by the Department for Education of the OECD PISA 2009 data shows that to match the attainment of pupils from Shanghai in the PISA reading assessment:

the proportion of England's pupils achieving five A*-C grades (including English and maths) at the end of key stage 4 would need to increase by 22 percentage points; andfor all maintained schools in England this would be an increase from 55 per cent of pupils achieving the threshold measure (in 2010) to 77 per cent.

The Government are taking urgent action across the board to ensure that England can match the achievement of those countries which have closed the gap between rich and poor pupils, while raising the attainment of all. Specific actions to identify and address problems with reading include the introduction of a phonics check for six year-olds, a new spelling, punctuation, grammar and vocabulary test for 11 year- olds, and the reinstatement of marks for spelling, punctuation and grammar in relevant GCSE exams.

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