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

Indicator 17: International Mathematics and Science Achievement

Figure 17. Average scores in mathematics and science literacy assessments among 15-year-old students in selected countries: 2003

Average scores in mathematics and science literacy assessments among 15-year-old students in selected countries: 2003
1Refers 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.
NOTE: The scale range for the PISA assessment is from 0 to 1000. The scale was designed to have an average score of 500 points, 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.

United States students had lower average scores in both mathematics and science literacy compared to the respective OECD averages in 2003. Twenty-one OECD countries outperformed the United States in mathematics literacy, while the U.S. average was higher than 5 OECD country averages. No differences were detected between the U.S. average mathematics literacy score and 3 OECD country averages. Fifteen OECD country average scores on the science literacy assessment were higher than the average score for U.S. students, while the U.S. average was higher than 6 OECD country averages. The United States science literacy average was not different than the average of 8 OECD countries. Males scored higher than females in 21 OECD countries for the mathematics assessment and in 11 OECD countries for the science assessment. No gender differences were found in 7 countries for the mathematics assessment and 16 countries for the science assessment. Within the United States, males scored higher than females on the mathematics assessment, while no measurable difference between genders was found for the science assessment.


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