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But given that it will be another three PISAs before pupils educated through new curriculum arrangements sit the tests (in 2027), it may be that we have to wait a little while longer for marked improvement. For example, one must ask if it is acceptable that after five PISA tranches, and countless political promises, the goalposts can be shifted yet again.
Is it right that having waited 12 years for an upsurge in PISA performance, we might now have to resign ourselves to a further decade of patience?
Paradoxically, what we definitely do not need – regardless of what happens in December – is yet another change in direction.
The Welsh Government’s tendency to lurch from one policy to the next (very often, in response to PISA) has been prescribed by the OECD as breeding ‘reform fatigue’ – a condition from which all in education have suffered.
Wales’ education system has matured to a level at which it knows well its deficiencies – and there are actions in place to tackle them.
But it is not the be-all and end-all and there are a wide range of performance measures we can use to test the temperature of Welsh education.In fact, given the heavy demands of curriculum development, I think we will have done well to stabilise our position in this year’s world rankings.Notwithstanding the restorative interventions that were put in place by the Welsh Government in the run-up to PISA testing last year (including the appointment of a PISA tsar to rally round participating schools), I fear there has been too much noise in the system to distract those chosen to take part.Indeed, they are not in any way a reflection on the revamped system we are in the process of creating.To recap, the last time PISA results were published in December 2016 (a year after tests were sat) Welsh teenagers scored: Wales’ return was another disappointment, with Kirsty Williams conceding that ‘we are not yet where we want to be’.