Ireland’s 15-year-olds are top performers in international study


Tuesday 5 December 2023

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Ireland’s 15-year-olds are top performers in international study

‘Second-level schools delivering consistently high quality and equitable education to young people’ – ASTI President

“Second-level schools in Ireland are providing a high-quality and highly equitable education service to young people despite serious underfunding and under-resourcing,” ASTI President Geraldine O’Brien said today.

The OECD PISA report for 2022 (published today) shows that 15-year-olds in Ireland rank first out of 37 OECD countries for reading literacy. Out of 81 world countries, Singapore is the only country ahead of Ireland for reading literacy.

Ireland ranks 7th out of 37 OECD countries when it comes to performance in maths, and is in 8th place for performance in science.

Commenting on the report, ASTI President Geraldine O’Brien said the findings are a testament to the dedication and commitment of school communities all over the country– including teachers, parents and school managers:

“Despite chronic under-investment in our education system, school communities are working tirelessly in the interest of their students. The last few years have been challenging and traumatic, but teachers, parents, and school managers have ensured that students have continued to receive a high-quality education. In addition, students have demonstrated extraordinary resilience and we are immensely proud of them.

“Ireland is one of 10 countries highlighted in today’s PISA report for high levels of equity for students. This means that parents can be assured of a high quality education regardless of socio-economic status and the type of school. Teachers in Ireland place a premium value on fairness and equality for their students.”

Ms O’Brien said today’s news comes against the backdrop of the recently published OECD Education at a Glance report which ranks Ireland in last place out of 36 OECD countries for investment in education as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP). In 2020, the year analysed in Education at a Glance, Ireland invested 1% of GDP in second-level education compared to the OECD average of 2% and the EU average of 1.9%.

“Under-investment in education is a very real threat to our high-quality education service and is contributing to chronic teacher shortages in Ireland,” said Ms O’Brien.

Today’s OECD PISA report is the first large-scale study of student performance following the pandemic restrictions which impacted on schools. While internationally, many countries saw an unprecedented drop in performance, in Ireland, performance in reading was stable and performance in science increased.  A decline in performance in maths for Ireland was much less than the OECD average.


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