News that English 10 and 14 year-olds are doing better in Maths and remain in the global top ten for Science will come as a bitter disappointment to those who would want us to believe that educational standards have dived compared with other countries as a result of Labour's educational reforms.
Today's TIMMS survey shows that
* No European country outperformed England in any of the four assessments [in Maths or Science] nor did the United States, or countries often perceived as high performers such as
Australia, Sweden and New Zealand.
• England’s performance over time has continued to improve in mathematics at age ten and, for the first time in the study, performance in mathematics at age 14 also significantly improved. For science, the previous high performance was maintained in both age groups.
• Although 14-year-olds’ enjoyment of mathematics had fallen since 1999 in England, there was a significant rise in the percentage of 14-year-olds valuing mathematics highly, i.e. recognising that it can be useful to them.
• Compared with the international average, headteachers and mathematics and science teachers in England are more likely to say that their schools (at both age ranges) are well-resourced.
• England’s science pupils at age 14 are more likely to spend their lesson time doing practical science activities than many of their international counterparts.
As John Dunford says, the results are a tribute to the teachers and students. But let's not forget too that this is the generation of 14 year-olds who were educated through Labour's numeracy strategy from the start of primary school.