Data Stories


Looking at the UK's educational performance through international data comparisons

Maths: the UK’s PISA score has risen significantly
Data collected from: The OECD PISA SurveyView Sourceicon / arrow right
  • The UK’s maths performance is significantly ahead of the average for OECD nations. 
  • In 2018, the UK’s score rose significantly. The UK was ranked 17th of the nations surveyed, up from 28th in 2015. 
  • Asian countries such as Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea and China’s main cities achieve the highest scores and rankings.
  • Amongst Western countries, Estonia, Netherlands, Poland and Switzerland are among those with higher scores than the UK. 

The OECD PISA Survey




Science: ranked 14th by PISA, the UK is ahead of many European nations
  • The UK was ranked 14th in science in 2018 and has held a similar position for the last decade.
  • The UK, like many nations including Japan, Korea, Finland and Canada, has seen its score gently falling since 2012.
  • Singapore has maintained the most consistent score.
  • China has the highest score but based on research in Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang only.

International Comparison of Science Skills at age 15

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Reading: the UK’s PISA score is similar to the US and Australia
  • The UK’s reading score has changed little since 2012. 
  • The UK’s score is similar to the United States, Australia and New Zealand. 
  • In 2018 the highest scores are achieved by Asian countries – Singapore, Hong Kong and China’s main cities. 
  • Amongst western countries, Estonia, Finland, Canada and Ireland achieve the highest scores. 

International Comparison of Reading Skills at age 15

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