Britain's education secretary said on Sunday for British students to move up their rankings in the international community, the exams must be tougher and schools must work harder, though the ambition could take a decade to achieve.
Speaking to the BBC Sunday Politics show, Education Secretary Michael Gove said he is prepared to see a fall in the number of A-level passes as the price for making the exams tougher.
Grade inflation "discredits the integrity of our education system" and the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE)'s A-levels and degrees must get "tougher", Gove said.
"What I hope we will see is our exams are once again trusted across the globe and our children are among the best in the world," he added.
The British government is eager to improve the country's position in the international education league tables, which in 2011 put Britain 17th for reading, 24th for mathematics in the world.
The education secretary, meanwhile, said a 10-year period would be needed for Britain's position in international education league tables to improve.
"We do need to climb up that league table, but I think it will take about 10 years before we can begin to see the fruits of all the reforms we're making, which will lead to a turnaround in the league tables," he said.
Gove also mentioned he would use a number of short-term measures to judge the success of his education policies.
These includes more students taking "rigorous subjects," more headteachers taking advantage of academy powers, and more independent schools choosing to join the state sector.
"I want to ensure that as well as exams being tougher, schools work harder," he said.
The international education league tables are based on the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), a worldwide evaluation of 15-year-old school pupils' scholastic performance, performed first in 2000 and since then every three years.