"It is often the case that the strongest students remain in education, and that students who were not in education and were brought into the school system are weaker than those who were already included".
If we simply follow more fads in response to our worsening results, then it's our disadvantaged students who will suffer most.
It found that maths performance has declined in all states and territories.
The principal criterion for success of PISA is to help countries build robust and internationally comparable metrics for relevant learning outcomes and to build capacities for using the resulting data for the design and implementation of necessary reforms in the education sector. "The 2018 test had used interactive tasks in a simulated web environment which was 'strongly focused on reading in a digital context", it pointed out. In the next test, in 2021, creative thinking will be included in the assessment. Hong Kong performed at the same level as Australia in reading in 2000, but outperformed Australia in 2018. "We should not accept anything less". We can and should expect much more of Australian students.
Irish students are also above the global average for science and maths, although, worryingly, the number of Irish teens performing at the highest levels in these subjects is down.
The table below shows Australia's performance compared to other countries and economies in the 2018 test cycle.
Around two out of three students in OECD countries reported being happy with their lives, although the share of satisfied students fell by five percentage points between 2015 and 2018.
And while their math performance may not be declining, 15-year-olds in the United States still lag the scores of their peers in dozens of other countries.
Taiwan scored 503 in reading, above the average 487. The OECE average for both is 489 points.
The OECD went on to say that had there been no improvement in Indonesia's education system, "the inclusion of more students would be expected to lower mean performance and the performance distribution".
Greek children performed worse in all three categories compared to the previous survey in 2015.
Just 8.9 percent of Japanese students answered correctly, significantly lower than the OECD average of 27 percent.
In math, the US average score on the PISA (478) was lower than the OECD average score (489).
Across the assessment domains, there was around three-quarters of a year of schooling difference between students in government schools and students in Catholic schools, around one-and-a-half years of schooling difference between students in government schools and students in independent schools, and nearly one year of schooling difference between students in Catholic schools and students in independent schools.
Pupils from the most advantaged backgrounds in Northern Ireland also had higher reading scores than those from less socio-economically advantaged homes.
Asked if they agreed or strongly agreed with the statements "I read only when I have to" and "I read only to get the information I need", 50.9 per cent and 49.4 per cent of girls said yes.