Second-level Irish students are performing near the top of the world in reading literacy and significantly above average in science and maths.

That is according to the results for Ireland in the OECD PISA report 2015. The report compares the performances of 15-year-old students in 72 countries across the globe.

The report shows that Ireland is one of the world's top performers in reading literacy, coming 3rd out of 35 OECD countries and 2nd amongst EU countries. Students in Ireland are also performing significantly above average in science and maths; Ireland is ranked 13th out of 35 OECD countries and 6th among EU countries in science and 13th out of 35 countries and 9th among EU countries in maths.

The key findings of the report include:

  •  In reading, Irish students ranked 3rd out of 35 OECD countries, 2nd among EU countries, and 5th out of all countries participating in PISA 2015
  • In science, Irish students ranked 13th out of 35 OECD countries, 6th among EU countries and 19th out of all countries participating in PISA 2015
  • In mathematics, Irish students ranked 13th of 35 OECD countries, 9th among EU countries and 18th out of all countries participating in PISA 2015.
  • All three test domains (reading, maths and science) showed some gender differences in results, with girls performing better than boys in reading and boys performing better than girls in mathematics and science. 

"The basic aim of this Government is to sustain our economic progress and use it to build a fair and compassionate society. That is why we have published and started implementing the Action Plan for Education aimed at making Ireland the best education service in Europe," The Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton T.D. said.

ASTI General Secretary Kieran Christie welcomed the report and said the results contain important messages for Ireland. "This is a good news story for all of those involved in the education service. It shows that despite the harrowing cutbacks implemented during the recession years, the dedication and commitment of teachers, parents and school managers has ensured that students have continued to receive a high quality education. It is also clear from today's results that teachers successfully implemented new policies designed to improve students' learning outcomes - namely the National Literacy and Numeracy Strategy and School Self-Evaluation.

TUI Education/Research Officer David Duffy said, "These scores are a tribute to the resilience of teachers and students at a time when the austerity agenda has stifled the irrefutable case for significantly increased investment in education."