Students in the UK perform above average in reading literacy, maths and science when compared with the rest of the world.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) looked at the educational abilities of 36 countries as part of its Better Life Index and found the average score for the three core topics was 497.
However, the UK recorded a score of 500 and this demonstrates how positive signs are emerging from the country as it seeks to improve its school system.
Earlier this month, Ofqual revealed it was reforming GCSEs with a new grading system - using a scale running from one-to-nine, with nine being the highest - to better measure standards.
Speaking about the move, chief regulator Glenys Stacey said: "The changes being made will make sure they are better qualifications: better assessed and more resilient so that everyone can have greater confidence in the results."
The OECD discovered the best-performing schools in the UK are doing a very good job of providing high-quality education to all of their pupils thanks to the quality of those in teacher jobs.
However, the gap in attainment between the top 20 per cent and bottom 20 per cent (103 points) is higher than the OECD average of 99 points, so more needs to be done to improve the level of teaching across the board.
"A well-educated and well-trained population is essential for a country's social and economic well-being. Education plays a key role in providing individuals with the knowledge, skills and competences needed to participate effectively in society and in the economy," the thinktank stated.
The importance of staying in education was also evidenced by the fact that across the OECD membership, 83 per cent of people with university-level degrees are in employment - this figure drops to 56 per cent for those with only a secondary school diploma.
Posted by Alan Douglas