How the international school tables work

International school tables are expected to suggest that UK students have fallen behind pupils in Asian countries in reading, science and maths.

This is how the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development's tables work:

  • The rankings are based on tests completed by around 500,000 pupils worldwide in 65 different countries.
  • Some 12,638 students took the two-hour tests in 477 secondary schools across the UK, according to The Sunday Times (£).
  • The study focuses on three key areas; reading, science and maths.
  • In 2009, the last time this test was carried out, the UK finished 25th for reading, 16th in science and 28th in maths.

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UK lagging behind in education

British schools have failed to improve in recent years and are still lagging behind Asian nations on reading, science and maths, according to a major international study. The UK was 26th out of 65 for maths, 23rd for reading and 21st for science.