PISA Testing – The Lowdown

PISA Testing – The Lowdown

You may have heard of PISA testing and be left wondering what it is and what it does; we thought we’d take the time to share a brief overview so that you know what it’s all about.

PISA is the Programme for International Student Assessment and was created to be a method in which the educational system of a country is evaluated against other countries. It is done via a test that is given to a set group of 15-year-old pupils and the results create a rank of educational quality across 79 countries.

The tests include maths, science and reading and only selected pupils get to sit the test in a bid to get a fair representation across all walks of life. Within the UK there are tests for England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland with England achieving the best results and Wales consistently falling into the last place.

You may have heard about the tests in the news back in 2018 when the UK failed to reach a top twenty spot for reading and maths. The result of this saw schools being put under huge pressures to improve the outcomes of students in their care. The news took a brighter turn in late 2019 when the UK managed to achieve a top 20 standing for all three areas; reading, science and maths.

However, the tests have been widely criticised as not being broad enough to consider the whole school experience and may school leaders have questioned where the consideration for pastoral care come in. The PISA tests also take this into consideration and the picture of pupil wellbeing in the UK is bleak. Over 65% of young people reported that they were sometimes or always worried, a huge 16% leap from the 55% average score. Overall, the UK scored very poorly for life satisfaction and also for youngsters having meaning in their lives. The question we are left with is whether the improvement in academic attainment was at the cost of pupil wellbeing.

It is agreed that the support for mental health and wellbeing issues is lacking in the UK and that pupils are failing to thrive because they are not feeling safe in their educational establishments. Many academic bodies feel that the gap between affluence and poverty is causing significant problems in education and closing the gap is not working as well as people hoped it would.

The solution seems pretty simple; cater for all areas of a child’s life and you will get the best from them. If schools continue to focus on putting academic pressure on pupils without providing the wellbeing support at the same level then we can expect to watch pupils continue to decline and fail to meet their potential.

Here at Phi Tuition we understand the need to balance wellbeing and academic excellence and can support any young person to achieve their full potential whilst monitoring their wellbeing and improving their confidence. Why don’t you get in touch and discuss your requirements so that we can arrange a tuition package that will support your child and help them move towards their future in the best way possible.

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