Tuesday 29 November 2016

Singapore Tops Among Global Education Rankings


Singapore has the highest-achieving primary and secondary pupils in international education tests in maths and science.

But primary school pupils in Northern Ireland were ranked sixth at maths, the highest of any in Europe.

English children recorded improved results in a set of prestigious international maths and science exams published today, although the maths scores of English primary and secondary pupils remain far behind those in Singapore and Hong Kong.

Primary school pupils in Northern Ireland again showed remarkable maths prowess, holding the 2011 ranking of sixth overall, and the nation’s exam results were the best in Europe among the 49 countries taking part.

The four-yearly Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (Timss) found that the performance of English pupils in the benchmark tests taken last year were remarkably similar to what it was in 2011.

England’s 13 and 14-year-olds produced their best effort in science, where England’s international rank rose from ninth to eighth out of the 39 countries taking part, keeping England ahead of the US, Canada and Australia. But England’s improved rank in science was mainly due to Finland not entering pupils in that age group, after having been the best-performing European country in 2011.

Although the latest Timss results didn’t show statistically significant improvements, they were enough for England to be ranked among the countries showing the best sustained improvements in science since the international measure was introduced in 1995.

The maths performances were once again dominated by a small group of countries led by Singapore in both age groups, and particularly in the 13-14 year-old age group, where its score was well ahead of South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Japan.

The gap in test scores between the high-performing Asian countries and the rest widened compared with the previous rounds of tests. In the primary school age group, Singapore and Hong Kong were again top in maths, followed by South Korea, Taiwan and Japan, then Northern Ireland and Russia.

While England’s test results improved slightly, its international position in 13 and 14-year-olds’ maths slipped slightly, from 10th in 2011 to 11th overall, after being overtaken by Kazakhstan. Similarly, among nine and 10-year-olds, the better exam results did not stop England’s position going from ninth to 10th, nudged down by Ireland’s rise from 17th in 2011 to ninth this year.



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