International exam shows US students behind in skills

A recent international exam compares 15-year-olds in 79 countries with regard to reading, math and science skills. US students ranked 8th in reading, 11th in science, and 30th in math.

China leads the world in all three categories.

Check out the charts here.

not good news for US educational reformers

Decades of education reform and billions of dollars have been aimed at low-performing students, yet the achievement gap between high- and low-performance seems to have widened. For example, 27% of advantaged students and only 4% of disadvantaged students were top performers on the reading test.

And, despite reform measures, there has been little change over time in US scores.

what is PISA

PISA (the Programme for International Student Assessment) started international testing in 2000, with six tests in total, administered every three years across 79 countries. Ideally, test results provide an impartial look at educational systems across the world, with the hopes of using the data to identify good practices that are worth utilizing.

The test has been developed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

problems with the test

The PISA test has its problems, however, and those shortcomings may lead to an inaccurate appraisal of US education. For more on this check out the debate: Is PISA worthwhile?


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