23rd October 2018

Launch of new OECD PISA Equity report – EPI response

Today the Education Policy Institute hosted the launch of the OECD’s new PISA report, Equity in Education: Breaking Down Barriers to Social Mobility.

Examining how equity in education has evolved over several cycles of the PISA, the report finds that the academic performance gap between advantaged and disadvantaged children develops from as early as 10 years old, and widens throughout students’ lives. On average across OECD countries, more than two-thirds of the achievement gap observed at age 15 and about two-thirds of the gap among 25-29 year-olds was already seen among 10-year-olds.

The report finds a strong link between a school’s socio-economic profile and a student’s performance: students who attend more socio-economically advantaged schools perform better in PISA. Yet, on average across OECD countries, 48% of disadvantaged students attended disadvantaged schools in 2015 and there has been no significant change in segregation levels in most countries over the past decade.

Equity in Education also looks at the impact of well-being on performance, and assesses pupil resilience. It finds that around one in four disadvantaged students across OECD countries are “socially and emotionally resilient”.

The full report can be read here:

You can find a UK country note here.

Commenting on the UK findings, Natalie Perera, Executive Director of the Education Policy Institute, said:

“This report shows that between teenage years and adulthood England is marked by a huge divide between the maths skills of poorer pupils, and those from more affluent backgrounds. This huge socio-economic gap in numerical ability ought to be of great concern for the government, both in terms of future skills provision, and social mobility.

Today’s findings also highlight how compared other developed countries, disadvantaged pupils in the UK are more likely to feel less socially integrated at schools, less satisfied with life, and more likely to suffer from test anxiety. While overall academic gaps have been closing in recent years, in order to make further progress it is essential that policy-makers pay greater attention to supporting pupils’ wellbeing”.