Plummeting performance not true says study

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CLAIMS by Ministers that England has been plummeting down international pupil performance tables cannot be justified, a study has suggested.

Publishing a white paper in March setting out a radical reform programme for the schools system, the Government cited data showing English children were doing comparatively worse in science, literacy and maths.

However a study of English pupils’ scores in international maths tests over the past 12 years by the University of London’s Institute of Education found “no hard evidence” of any decline in comparative performance over time.

In a foreword to the white paper, called The Importance of Teaching, Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said the country’s standing in the most recent Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) survey had fallen in literacy, maths and science.

However new analysis by Dr John Jerrim pointed out that while the Pisa data indicated England was slipping down the tables, other research indicated that the maths scores of the country’s 13 and 14-year-olds rose in comparison with other countries between 1999 and 2007.

England’s changing position in international performance tables neither supports nor refutes policymakers’ calls for reform, he said.