SOUTH Down MLA and education spokesperson Séan Rogers expressed his concern over the latest Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) results show that despite investment, the standards in English, Mathematics and Science in Northern Ireland haven’t shown a significant improvement.
Mr Rogers said: “I think this report just confirms what we know already that despite the significant investment, the standards in English, Mathematics and Science haven’t shown a significant improvement. There is little dissemination of good practice – Achieving Belfast and Achieving Derry were in themselves good projects but this good work needs disseminated.
“We see the same story with PAC reports in 2006 and most recently. The Minister highlights the need for further reform, but this is the last thing teachers need – look at Computer Based Assessment, the current issues with Levels of progression.
“While there is a lot of room for improvement in the secondary sector, sound educational foundations are not built in this sector.
“Under-achievement will never be solved by knee-jerk reactions or throwing money at a problem, but only by a clear strategic approach that tackles the issues in early years and in the primary school.
Research has highlighted the importance of early years learning to the educational achievements of children. We must put mechanisms in place to support children when they first enter structured learning. Baseline assessment would be a good place to start.
“Teachers are our most valuable resource who need and deserve high quality on-going professional development,” added Mr Rogers.