"It represents a continuation of our poor performance in a string of international studies which Ai Group has regularly drawn attention to. This is the burning platform which supports the evidence that education reform is urgently needed.
"The Australian economy increasingly needs people with STEM skills. These TIMSS results indicate we are moving further away and not closer to this. There needs to be an urgent focus in the schooling system to turn this around. Reform of the way our schools are funded is a critical step to addressing this," Mr Willox said.
"A forthcoming Ai Group publication of workforce development needs by employers will document a significant level of dissatisfaction with the numeracy skills of school leavers. This report shows that over 30 per cent of employers were dissatisfied with the level of basic numeracy of school leavers.
"Employers have been telling us about this for some time. The results from this TIMSS report confirm these concerns and highlight the need for urgent action," Mr Willox said.
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