Welsh education minister Huw Lewis has stressed the importance to the Welsh economy of achieving success in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).
He described the cost of having a low-skills base as "potentially huge" and lent support to the statement by Andreas Schleicher of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development that "your education today is your economy tomorrow".
Last year, the PISA ranking revealed Welsh pupils' attainment had fallen significantly behind that of their counterparts in the rest of the UK. Overall, the performance of British pupils was average but had not improved significantly compared with previous assessment results.
Mr Lewis announced that voluntary PISA-based tests are being made available to schools in Wales. This will enable schools or clusters of schools to judge where they stand in comparison to institutions in the highest-performing nations.
He encouraged schools to participate in the tests because it will enable them to devise an improvement plan to help raise attainment levels.
Posted by Tim Colman