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Press Release - 2022 PISA Results UK Performance

Expert opinion: Chris Newth-West, Curricula Product Manager, Sumdog

With the House of Commons Committee Education recovery report finding that it could take as many as 10 years for the attainment gap between disadvantaged children and others to return to pre-pandemic levels in England, the pressure on the Department for Education to implement effective recovery for students across the UK is mounting. 

Investing in quality maths education technology for bright futures

On 5th December, the PISA 2022 results were released with an additional focus on mathematics, providing our first insight into how the pandemic and other economic factors have impacted our students’ academic capabilities in comparison to their global peers. Every three years, PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) assesses how 15-year-olds’ knowledge and skills in mathematics, reading and science will prepare them for real challenges. Although PISA 2018 indicated a marked rise in mathematics performance in the UK, this trend was unfortunately reversed in the 2022 study as our maths score fell from 502 to an all time low of 489, with socioeconomically disadvantaged students scoring 86 points fewer on average. Given the context in which the study was conducted, sadly these results seemed almost inevitable.

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and a 10-year period from 2010-2019 in which public spending on education fell by ten billion pounds (in real terms) have yet to be truly understood and cannot be overstated. PISA results will also inevitably have been affected by a fall in teacher retention – in 2021-2022 alone almost 9% of teachers in England left the profession before retirement. Although this is hardly a positive picture, the results have at least provided us with an opportunity to better understand the effect of these disruptions and identify how to help educators help those most in need.

Given these issues, digital resources that streamline teachers’ workloads and provide them with valuable insights are becoming increasingly integral to education in the UK. Lower attainment in maths often stems directly from fundamental gaps in prior learning, and as teachers’ workloads become more stretched they have less time to identify these gaps and provide targeted intervention. A solid foundation of early maths acts as a scaffold, shaping a child's cognitive development in fundamental ways. It enhances critical thinking, problem-solving abilities, and logical reasoning skills. 

Quality early maths education empowers students with a versatile toolkit that extends well into adulthood, enabling them to approach challenges with confidence and resilience. 

Education technology as part of this early maths education can help encourage a more positive attitude towards maths, helping to tackle the ‘anti-maths mindset’ from a young age. 

Providing teachers with the tools to develop these skills will be of vital importance moving forward.


About Sumdog and the Albert Education Group

Sumdog was founded in Edinburgh, UK, in 1994 with a mission to help all children reach their full potential. Since its inception, Sumdog has been used by over 11 million children and 796,000 educators worldwide. The app provides highly engaging games-based maths practice for children aged 5-14, and spelling practice for children aged 5-11. Educators can set curriculum-aligned tasks for in-class practice or homework and benefit from in-depth automated reporting to help assess their learners whilst reducing their marking workload. 

In 2022, Sumdog joined the Albert Education Group. Consisting of 6 brands: Sumdog, Strawbees, Swedish Film, Albert, Holy Owly and Jaramba, the Group shares a combined ambition to make learning accessible for all and to raise the attainment level of our learners through our innovative solutions. 

For additional information please contact:

Kirsty Smith

Head of Communications

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