Royal Society comments on PISA 2015 UK science performance

06 December 2016

Commenting on the PISA 2015 report released today, Professor Tom McLeish FRS, Chair of the Royal Society’s Education Committee said:

"The UK consistently ranks as one of the very highest performing scientific nations. Our education policies must ensure this is maintained in the future, so it is disappointing to see this year's PISA results show no significant change in the UK's absolute performance in science since 2006. However, delving into the detail reveals some of the strengths of UK science teaching and the curriculum that we can build on, with students in the UK performing above the OECD average in science and a greater proportion of students in the UK achieving the highest levels in the PISA science assessment compared to the average across OECD countries. There is still work to do in narrowing the unacceptable gap between our lowest and highest achieving science pupils and ensuring that our education system strives to ensure that all young people can be successful in science.

"We are very pleased to see that more UK students in 2015 said they enjoyed learning science than in 2006 and that a healthy number of young people also aspire to have a career in science. More than a quarter of our young people hope to be working in a science related career by age 30. This is higher than the other countries in the study and a significant increase on 9 years ago.

“The Royal Society's Vision report includes an ambition that all young people study science to 18 and can see where science can take them. If we continue to invest in growing the positive aspirations of young people when it comes to science, this will go some way to meeting the needs of our long term economic competitiveness and equip our young people to prosper in a rapidly-changing, knowledge-based economy."