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12th February 2016

Analysis of PISA data has shown that most OECD member countries have made little progress helping their weakest students improve their performance in reading, mathematics and science over the past decade.

The report says that around 4.5 million 15-year-olds in OECD countries, or more than one in four students, fail to achieve the most basic level of proficiency in reading, mathematics and or science.

The OECD said that the proportion of low performers in all three subjects has not changed significantly in the UK since 2006. Brazil, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Poland, Portugal, Russian Federation, Tunisia and Turkey reduced their share of low performers in mathematics between 2003 and 2012.

PISA defines “low performers” as those 15-year-old students who score below Level 2 on the PISA mathematics, reading and science assessments.

In 2012, 22% of UK students were low performers in mathematics (OECD average: 23%), 17% in reading (OECD average: 18%), 15% in science (OECD average: 18%), and 11% were low performers in all three subjects (OECD average: 12%).

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