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International comparisons of achievement

Question:
How does the achievement of American students compare to that of students in other countries?

Response:
The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), coordinated by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), has measured the performance of 15-year-old students in mathematics, science, and reading literacy every 3 years since 2000. In 2012, PISA was administered in 65 countries and education systems, including all 34 member countries of the OECD. In addition to participating in the U.S. national sample, three states—Connecticut, Florida, and Massachusetts—opted to participate as individual education systems and had separate samples of public schools and public school students included in PISA to obtain state-level results. PISA 2012 results are reported by average scale score (from 0 to 1,000) as well as by the percentage of students reaching particular proficiency levels.

In 2012, average scores in mathematics literacy ranged from 368 in Peru to 613 in Shanghai-CHN. The U.S. average mathematics score (481) was lower than the average for all OECD countries (494). Twenty-nine education systems and two U.S. states had higher average mathematics scores than the U.S. average score and nine had scores not measurably different from the U.S. score. The 29 education systems with scores higher than the U.S. average score were Shanghai-CHN, Singapore, Hong Kong-CHN, Chinese Taipei-CHN, the Republic of Korea, Macao-CHN, Japan, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Estonia, Finland, Canada, Poland, Belgium, Germany, Vietnam, Austria, Australia, Ireland, Slovenia, Denmark, New Zealand, the Czech Republic, France, the United Kingdom, Iceland, Latvia, and Luxembourg. Within the United States, Massachusetts (514) and Connecticut (506) had scores higher than the U.S. average.

In addition to scoring above the U.S. average, Massachusetts scored above the OECD average. Connecticut scored above the U.S. national average, but its score was not measurably different from the OECD average. Florida's average score (467) was below the U.S. national average.

In science literacy, average scores ranged from 373 in Peru to 580 in Shanghai-CHN. The U.S. average science score (497) was not measurably different from the OECD average (501). Twenty-two education systems and 2 U.S. states had higher average science scores than the United States, and 13 systems and 1 U.S. state had scores that were not measurably different. The 22 education systems with higher scores than the U.S. average score were Shanghai-CHN, Hong Kong-CHN, Singapore, Japan, Finland, Estonia, the Republic of Korea, Vietnam, Poland, Canada, Liechtenstein, Germany, Chinese Taipei-CHN, the Netherlands, Ireland, Australia, Macao-CHN, New Zealand, Switzerland, Slovenia, the United Kingdom, and the Czech Republic. Within the United States, Massachusetts and Connecticut scored above the U.S. average.

In addition to scoring above the U.S. national average, Massachusetts (527) and Connecticut (521) also scored above the OECD average. Florida (485) had an average score not measurably different from the U.S. average and lower than the OECD average.

In reading literacy, average scores ranged from 384 in Peru to 570 in Shanghai-CHN. The U.S. average score (498) was not measurably different from the OECD average (496). Nineteen education systems and 2 U.S. states had higher average reading scores and 11 education systems and 1 U.S. state had scores that were not measurably different. The 19 education systems with higher average scores than the United States in reading literacy were Shanghai-CHN, Hong Kong-CHN, Singapore, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Finland, Ireland, Chinese Taipei-CHN, Canada, Poland, Estonia, Liechtenstein, New Zealand, Australia, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Macao-CHN, Belgium, and Germany. Within the United States, Massachusetts and Connecticut scored above the U.S. average.

In reading, Massachusetts (527) and Connecticut (521) scored above both the U.S. national average and the OECD average. Florida had an average reading score (492) that was not measurably different from either the U.S. average or the OECD average.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2014). The Condition of Education 2014 (NCES 2014-083), International Assessments.

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National Center for Education Statistics - http://nces.ed.gov
U.S. Department of Education