Countries or states from region occupy all the top seven positions for maths, the main focus of the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) 2012 results, which compares the performance of 15-year-olds.
But there was bad news for Finland, a perennial star in previous Pisa studies, which suffered declines in maths, science and reading; as did Sweden another Nordic country with a schools system that the others have sought to emulate.
And there were mixed fortunes for the rest of Europe. The UK failed to improve significantly from the last Pisa in 2009 and remains at the average for industrialised countries in reading and maths.
It stays above average in science, but the UK’s test score in the subject remains exactly the same as it was for the last Pisa, in 2009.
Meanwhile, in the rest of Europe, Poland continued its rise and Italy’s performance suggested it could be possible to improve education outcomes in the face of spending cuts.