Aled Roberts, Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Minister for Education, has accused the Welsh Government of being at odds over its expectation for December's PISA results.
PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) compares international standards in education. In 2010 Wales was ranked 38th for reading out of 67, 40th for maths and 30th for science. These results were roundly considered unacceptable with the then Education Minister describing them as "a wake-up call to a complacent system". The First Minister has repeatedly stated that he expects to see improvements when PISA reports back this December. However, the Education Minister today stated in the National Assembly that it would not be "realistic" to expect improvements by then.
The Welsh Government's overall target is for Wales to be in the top 20 by 2015.
Aled Roberts AM said:
"Last month the First Minister categorically stated that he expects to see improvements in this year's PISA results. Now, with only a month until those results are to be announced, the Education Minister is pedalling back on that promise.
"It's bizarre that two senior members of the Government are at odds saying completely different things. It can be little wonder that Wales' education system is struggling so much when the Welsh Labour Government can't even agree how effective their policies have been in reaching the targets they have previously set.
"This is a bitter blow for the Welsh Labour Government's target for Wales to be in the top 20 by 2015. Michael Davidson, who oversees PISA, has said that it would be essential for there to be progress in December for Wales to reach its 2015 target."