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Youth Indicators, 2005: Trends in the Well-Being of American Youth

Indicator 14: International Reading Achievement

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Table 14. Average scores on reading literacy assessments, by sex, and percentage at selected literacy proficiency levels among 15-year-old students in selected countries: 2003
 Reading literacy scorePercent of students at selected reading literacy proficiency levels
CountryAverage scoreMaleFemaleLevel 1 or below1Level 32Level 53
OECD average448847250322278
 Australia525506545122815
 Austria49146751421278
 Belgium507489526182613
 Canada528514546103113
 Czech Republic48947350419306
 Denmark49247950517335
 Finland54352156563215
 France49647651418307
 Germany491471513222610
 Greece47245349025276
 Hungary48246749821305
 Iceland49246452219307
 Ireland51550153011329
 Italy47645549524285
 Japan498487509192710
 Korea53452554773412
 Luxembourg47946349623295
 Mexico40038941052161
 Netherlands51350352412319
 New Zealand522508535152616
 Norway500475525182910
 Poland49747751617308
 Portugal47845949522314
 Slovak Republic46945348625284
 Spain48146150021305
 Sweden514496533133011
 Switzerland49948251717318
 Turkey44142645937214
 United Kingdom5
 United States49547951119289
Not available.
1Less than 407 score points. Although students at this level may have the technical capacity to read, they have serious difficulties in using reading literacy as an effective tool to advance knowledge. Some students are capable of completing only the simplest reading tasks, such as locating a single piece of information, identifying the main theme of a text, or making a simple connection with everyday knowledge.
2Between 481 and 552 score points. Indicates an ability to locate multiple pieces of information, make links between different parts of a text, and relate it to familiar everyday knowledge.
3Above 625 score points. Indicates an ability to manage information that is difficult to find in unfamiliar texts, show detailed understanding of such text, and evaluate critically and build hypotheses.
4Refers to the average for OECD countries as a single entity, to which each country contributes in proportion to the number of 15-year-olds enrolled in its schools.
5Response rate was too low to ensure comparability.
NOTE: The scale range for the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is from 0 to 1,000. The scale was designed to have an average score of 500 points across OECD countries, with approximately two-thirds of students achieving between 400 and 600 points.
SOURCE: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). (2004). Learning for Tomorrow's World: First Results from the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2003.

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