Poverty is no Barrier to Achievement, says OECD

Last year the pupil achievement across the world hit the headlines with the announcement of the latest PISA test resultsPISA (The Programme for International Student Assessment) is an international survey ran by the OECD and carried out every three years, with the intention of providing a worldwide international evaluation of skills and knowledge of 15 year old students. The 2012 round, which was published in December last year, put the UK out of the top 20 performing countries in maths, reading and science.

Differences in academic performance are frequently linked to socio-economic background in the UK. However, the man who runs the PISA tests, Andreas Schleicher, says that a link between poor performance and poor backgrounds is not inevitable. His analysis found:

  • The most disadvantaged pupils in Shanghai match math results of wealthy UK pupils
  • The poorest 10% of Shanghai pupils are as good as the richest 20% of UK and US pupils
  • Poor pupils in the Netherlands rival rich pupils in France in maths
  • The poorest 10% of Hong Kong pupils scored higher than the wealthiest in Sweden and Norway

These results are not intuitive, and challenge the tendency of some to blame achievement on family wealth and look no further into the factors behind this correlation. Mr Schleicher says ‘it shows how differences because of social background should not be unquestioningly tolerated.’

The Bridge Builders Mentoring Scheme helps young males from poorer backgrounds to further prove the skeptics wrong. Through challenging skills workshops and meeting with inspirational mentors, we help boys to realise their potential and bridge the gap from where they are now to where they would like to be in the future.

If you are interested in finding out more about the Bridge Builders Mentoring Scheme please call Amber on 0333 200 4703, or email amber.gabb@bridgebuilders.org.uk.

Helen Robinson