People in teaching jobs should start carrying out greater preparation for pupils sitting Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) tests.
This is according to Sir John Rowling, chair of the PiXL (Performance in Excellence) Club, which represents around 800 schools and all of its members are committed to improving GCSE and A Level exam performance. He acknowledged the political importance attached to the ratings means schools should be making sure their candidates fare well.
Speaking to the Times Education Supplement, Sir John said a "rigorous approach" needs to be adopted when it comes to improving Pisa scores - the latest results are published tomorrow (December 3rd).
The exams, which assess education systems worldwide by testing the skills and knowledge of 15-year-old pupils, are released by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development every three years.
Once the results have been curated, comparisons can be made between countries, which allows them to accurately gauge the quality of their education systems.
However, Sir John is not happy with the amount of work being completed ahead of the exams. "Every test I know, from driving tests to Oxbridge exams, people prepare for them. But I have never known anybody prepare for Pisa [in England], never.
"Maybe that's what the government wants. Maybe it's what Pisa wants too and if everybody else is doing that, fair enough. But if other [countries] are not doing that then you are not comparing like with like," he added.
The Scottish government has recognised the need to take Pisa testing seriously and, last year, it produced a short motivational video encouraging pupils to take advantage of the opportunity to represent their country.
Research also suggests other nations are taking a much more diligent approach to entering their schoolkids in Pisa tests, as they recognise the acclaim attached to performing well.
Posted by Tim Colman