Labour has created a "lost generation" who are lagging behind the nation's international rivals because education standards did not improve when they were in power, Michael Gove has claimed.
An Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report, to be published tomorrow, is set to show worldwide rankings comparing 500,000 15 year-old pupils in 65 countries.
It is expected to show that the UK is behind nations such as China, South Korea and Singapore in maths, reading and science. Exams are sat every three years in the majority of major nations, with 65 countries taking part in the last round of tests.
Education Secretary Mr Gove wrote in the Telegraph: "The ability of business to locate anywhere in the globe, and the increasing demand all industries have for highly-qualified people, means that if we want our children to have secure jobs and fulfilled lives we need to educate them all to a higher standard than ever before.
"That is what winning in the global race means - ensuring every child fulfils their full potential.
"Previous OECD league tables have shown how England's schools have, at worst, declined and, at best, remained stagnant under Labour.
"The most recent survey - of adult English and Maths skills - showed that our 16-25 year-olds, alone in the developed world, were more poorly educated than their grandparents."
Conservative Mr Gove noted the 15-year-olds who sat the tests had two years of schooling under the coalition before most of its reforms had been introduced, and nine years before that under Labour.
He told the Telegraph: "The real test of our reforms will be how we do in a decade's time."
"In the past, these tests have shown that, despite constantly rising exam results, our performance stagnated as others raced ahead.
"Our reforms are rooting out grade inflation, restoring rigour to the curriculum, giving head teachers more freedom, improving the quality of teachers and ensuring young people leave school with the skills they need to compete."
Tristram Hunt, the shadow education secretary, said the findings should be treated as a "wake-up call for UK schools policy" and accused ministers of making "frenetic, attention-seeking changes" in policy which were doing nothing to help children.