Decline in science attainment among England’s year 9 pupils

By Sally Weale

There has been a sharp decline in attainment in science among 13- and 14-year-olds in England for the first time in more than two decades, according to the results of prestigious international tests published on Tuesday.

Science scores among pupils in year 9 have remained generally stable in previous years, but the latest results showed a “considerable” decline in performance to reach England’s lowest ever score, which will prompt questions among ministers.

The percentage of pupils performing below the “low” benchmark has doubled since 2015. The average science score dropped from 537 four years ago to 517, meaning England slipped down the rankings and now sits behind nine other countries including Hungary, Lithuania and Australia.

“The reasons for this change are not obvious and require additional research,” according to analysis of the results by UCL Institute of Education.

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