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Digest of Education Statistics: 2017
Digest of Education Statistics: 2017

NCES 2018-070
January 2018


Table 602.50. Average reading literacy scores of 15-year-old students and percentage attaining reading literacy proficiency levels, by country or other education system: 2015
[Standard errors appear in parentheses]
Country or other education system Average reading literacy score1 Percentage attaining reading literacy proficiency levels2
Below level 2 At level 2 At level 3 At level 4 At or above level 5
Total below level 2 Below
level 1b
At level 1b At level 1a Total
at or above level 5
At level 5 At level 6
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
OECD average3 493   (0.5) 20.1   (0.17) 1.3   (0.04) 5.2   (0.09) 13.6   (0.13) 23.2   (0.15) 27.9   (0.15) 20.5   (0.14) 8.3   (0.11) 7.2   (0.09) 1.1   (0.04)
                                                                   
Australia 503   (1.7) 18.1   (0.55) 1.2   (0.16) 4.8   (0.24) 12.0   (0.47) 21.4   (0.63) 27.5   (0.58) 22.0   (0.58) 11.0   (0.51) 9.0   (0.46) 2.0   (0.20)
Austria 485   (2.8) 22.5   (1.04) 1.7   (0.25) 6.5   (0.67) 14.3   (0.76) 23.5   (0.86) 27.0   (1.07) 19.7   (0.74) 7.2   (0.57) 6.4   (0.52) 0.8   (0.18)
Belgium 499   (2.4) 19.5   (0.90) 1.0   (0.20) 5.3   (0.39) 13.2   (0.62) 21.1   (0.68) 26.8   (0.77) 23.2   (0.68) 9.3   (0.56) 8.4   (0.50) 1.0   (0.16)
Canada 527   (2.3) 10.7   (0.63) 0.4   (0.10) 2.1   (0.26) 8.2   (0.46) 19.0   (0.55) 29.7   (0.69) 26.6   (0.68) 14.0   (0.74) 11.6   (0.58) 2.4   (0.29)
Chile 459   (2.6) 28.4   (1.16) 1.3   (0.29) 7.4   (0.59) 19.8   (0.86) 29.9   (1.22) 27.0   (0.89) 12.4   (0.78) 2.3   (0.29) 2.2   (0.28) 0.1 ! (0.05)
                                                                   
Czech Republic 487   (2.6) 22.0   (1.10) 1.3   (0.28) 6.0   (0.62) 14.7   (0.69) 23.3   (0.80) 27.5   (1.01) 19.3   (0.90) 7.9   (0.55) 6.9   (0.49) 1.0   (0.16)
Denmark 500   (2.5) 15.0   (0.81) 0.5   (0.14) 3.3   (0.35) 11.2   (0.65) 24.1   (0.84) 32.4   (0.76) 22.0   (0.85) 6.5   (0.61) 5.9   (0.56) 0.6 ! (0.17)
Estonia 519   (2.2) 10.6   (0.72)   (†) 2.1   (0.31) 8.4   (0.66) 21.6   (0.73) 31.4   (0.86) 25.4   (0.95) 11.0   (0.65) 9.7   (0.61) 1.4   (0.24)
Finland 526   (2.5) 11.1   (0.75) 0.6   (0.15) 2.6   (0.31) 7.8   (0.52) 17.6   (0.77) 29.7   (0.91) 27.9   (0.96) 13.7   (0.72) 11.7   (0.62) 2.0   (0.26)
France 499   (2.5) 21.5   (0.91) 2.3   (0.43) 6.5   (0.57) 12.7   (0.52) 19.0   (0.80) 24.5   (0.91) 22.5   (0.79) 12.5   (0.74) 10.5   (0.68) 2.0   (0.23)
                                                                   
Germany 509   (3.0) 16.2   (0.93) 0.9   (0.20) 4.1   (0.46) 11.2   (0.69) 21.0   (0.97) 27.6   (0.91) 23.5   (0.85) 11.7   (0.70) 9.7   (0.65) 1.9   (0.29)
Greece 467   (4.3) 27.3   (1.79) 2.3   (0.51) 7.8   (0.96) 17.2   (0.96) 25.3   (0.97) 27.2   (1.08) 16.1   (0.92) 4.0   (0.47) 3.8   (0.45) 0.3 ! (0.09)
Hungary 470   (2.7) 27.5   (1.12) 1.4   (0.29) 8.1   (0.78) 18.0   (0.92) 24.5   (0.85) 27.0   (1.01) 16.8   (0.75) 4.3   (0.45) 3.9   (0.40) 0.4 ! (0.11)
Iceland 482   (2.0) 22.1   (0.98) 1.8   (0.32) 6.0   (0.52) 14.3   (0.90) 26.0   (1.09) 27.3   (0.93) 18.0   (0.75) 6.6   (0.60) 5.8   (0.54) 0.8 ! (0.24)
Ireland 521   (2.5) 10.2   (0.80)   (†) 1.7   (0.30) 8.3   (0.67) 21.0   (0.87) 31.8   (1.06) 26.4   (0.78) 10.7   (0.65) 9.4   (0.58) 1.3   (0.23)
                                                                   
Israel 479   (3.8) 26.6   (1.25) 3.3   (0.47) 8.1   (0.65) 15.2   (0.83) 21.7   (0.97) 24.0   (0.85) 18.5   (0.89) 9.2   (0.74) 7.7   (0.64) 1.4   (0.25)
Italy 485   (2.7) 21.0   (1.03) 1.0   (0.24) 5.4   (0.45) 14.5   (0.77) 25.4   (0.95) 28.8   (0.81) 19.2   (0.86) 5.7   (0.48) 5.1   (0.41) 0.6   (0.15)
Japan 516   (3.2) 12.9   (0.98) 0.6   (0.18) 3.0   (0.40) 9.2   (0.67) 19.8   (0.92) 30.5   (0.87) 26.0   (1.02) 10.8   (0.90) 9.5   (0.81) 1.3   (0.25)
Korea, Republic of 517   (3.5) 13.7   (0.98) 0.7   (0.19) 3.4   (0.48) 9.5   (0.72) 19.3   (0.95) 28.9   (1.03) 25.5   (1.16) 12.7   (0.96) 10.8   (0.83) 1.9   (0.31)
Latvia 488   (1.8) 17.7   (0.93) 0.4 ! (0.17) 3.8   (0.40) 13.4   (0.78) 27.2   (0.83) 32.1   (0.88) 18.7   (0.82) 4.3   (0.47) 4.0   (0.44) 0.3 ! (0.13)
                                                                   
Luxembourg 481   (1.4) 25.6   (0.58) 1.9   (0.28) 7.8   (0.49) 15.9   (0.67) 22.0   (0.84) 24.7   (0.65) 19.4   (0.73) 8.1   (0.45) 7.0   (0.39) 1.2   (0.19)
Mexico 423   (2.6) 41.7   (1.28) 2.0   (0.29) 11.4   (0.79) 28.4   (0.90) 34.2   (1.00) 19.5   (0.91) 4.2   (0.51) 0.3 ! (0.12) 0.3 ! (0.12)   (†)
Netherlands 503   (2.4) 18.1   (1.03) 1.1   (0.20) 4.4   (0.45) 12.6   (0.80) 21.8   (0.88) 26.6   (1.05) 22.7   (0.79) 10.9   (0.63) 9.5   (0.58) 1.4   (0.28)
New Zealand 509   (2.4) 17.3   (0.85) 1.0   (0.18) 4.8   (0.55) 11.5   (0.71) 20.6   (0.74) 26.5   (0.93) 22.0   (0.91) 13.6   (0.87) 11.0   (0.73) 2.6   (0.37)
Norway 513   (2.5) 14.9   (0.82) 0.8   (0.18) 3.6   (0.39) 10.6   (0.60) 20.4   (0.74) 28.5   (0.79) 23.9   (0.83) 12.2   (0.67) 10.1   (0.61) 2.1   (0.36)
                                                                   
Poland 506   (2.5) 14.4   (0.78) 0.5 ! (0.17) 3.2   (0.41) 10.8   (0.64) 22.5   (0.84) 31.4   (0.82) 23.5   (0.88) 8.2   (0.70) 7.5   (0.63) 0.7   (0.20)
Portugal 498   (2.7) 17.2   (0.88) 0.6   (0.13) 3.9   (0.39) 12.7   (0.67) 23.2   (0.83) 30.2   (0.92) 21.9   (0.98) 7.5   (0.58) 6.9   (0.59) 0.6   (0.18)
Slovak Republic 453   (2.8) 32.1   (1.14) 4.4   (0.53) 9.4   (0.57) 18.3   (0.79) 25.7   (0.78) 24.8   (0.88) 14.0   (0.65) 3.5   (0.40) 3.2   (0.37) 0.2 ! (0.11)
Slovenia 505   (1.5) 15.1   (0.58) 0.5   (0.10) 3.4   (0.34) 11.2   (0.52) 22.5   (0.90) 30.3   (0.89) 23.1   (0.78) 8.9   (0.68) 8.0   (0.68) 1.0 ! (0.36)
Spain 496   (2.4) 16.2   (0.85) 0.7   (0.16) 3.5   (0.37) 12.0   (0.69) 24.4   (0.80) 32.3   (0.97) 21.6   (0.85) 5.5   (0.53) 5.1   (0.51) 0.4   (0.10)
                                                                   
Sweden 500   (3.5) 18.4   (1.09) 1.5   (0.28) 4.8   (0.46) 12.2   (0.84) 21.7   (0.84) 27.5   (0.77) 22.5   (0.98) 10.0   (0.79) 8.5   (0.74) 1.5   (0.28)
Switzerland 492   (3.0) 20.0   (1.10) 1.2   (0.26) 5.2   (0.56) 13.5   (0.74) 23.2   (0.87) 28.1   (0.96) 20.9   (0.94) 7.8   (0.65) 6.9   (0.60) 0.9   (0.20)
Turkey 428   (4.0) 40.0   (2.00) 2.3   (0.32) 10.9   (0.96) 26.8   (1.38) 32.6   (1.48) 21.1   (1.41) 5.7   (0.88) 0.6 ! (0.23) 0.6 ! (0.22)   (†)
United Kingdom 498   (2.8) 17.9   (0.86) 0.8   (0.16) 4.0   (0.37) 13.1   (0.70) 24.3   (0.85) 28.4   (0.73) 20.3   (0.75) 9.2   (0.64) 7.7   (0.51) 1.5   (0.22)
United States 497   (3.4) 19.0   (1.14) 1.1   (0.24) 4.8   (0.53) 13.0   (0.77) 22.9   (0.90) 28.0   (0.95) 20.5   (0.87) 9.6   (0.74) 8.2   (0.64) 1.4   (0.23)
                                                                   
Non-OECD education systems                                                                  
Albania 405   (4.1) 50.3   (1.92) 7.4   (0.70) 15.9   (1.06) 27.0   (1.25) 27.3   (1.08) 16.3   (1.05) 5.1   (0.68) 1.0   (0.23) 0.9   (0.21)   (†)
Algeria 350   (3.0) 79.0   (1.55) 11.0   (1.02) 31.2   (1.17) 36.8   (1.20) 17.0   (1.23) 3.7   (0.55) 0.3 ! (0.12)   (†)   (†) #   (†)
Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu,
       Guangdong (China)
494   (5.1) 21.9   (1.51) 2.1   (0.44) 6.2   (0.64) 13.5   (0.84) 20.9   (1.06) 25.4   (1.11) 20.9   (1.19) 10.9   (1.29) 9.1   (0.97) 1.8   (0.45)
Brazil. 407   (2.8) 51.0   (1.13) 7.1   (0.47) 17.4   (0.65) 26.5   (0.61) 25.0   (0.66) 16.2   (0.57) 6.4   (0.46) 1.4   (0.25) 1.3   (0.21)   (†)
Buenos Aires (Argentina) 475   (7.2) 21.8   (2.29) 1.5 ! (0.54) 5.8   (1.09) 14.5   (1.66) 28.2   (2.10) 30.1   (1.98) 16.2   (2.03) 3.8   (1.09) 3.5   (1.00) 0.3 ! (0.21)
                                                                   
Bulgaria 432   (5.0) 41.5   (1.99) 7.7   (0.93) 14.3   (1.16) 19.5   (0.98) 22.0   (1.04) 21.2   (1.26) 11.7   (0.97) 3.6   (0.47) 3.2   (0.40) 0.4 ! (0.13)
Chinese Taipei 497   (2.5) 17.2   (0.82) 1.0   (0.16) 4.4   (0.37) 11.8   (0.59) 22.4   (0.77) 31.3   (1.00) 22.1   (0.86) 6.9   (0.77) 6.3   (0.66) 0.6   (0.19)
Colombia 425   (2.9) 42.8   (1.49) 3.2   (0.47) 13.6   (1.00) 26.1   (0.95) 29.2   (0.92) 19.9   (0.93) 7.0   (0.51) 1.0   (0.16) 0.9   (0.17)   (†)
Costa Rica 427   (2.6) 40.3   (1.44) 1.7   (0.28) 10.3   (0.72) 28.3   (1.00) 34.6   (1.04) 19.2   (1.05) 5.2   (0.57) 0.7   (0.18) 0.6   (0.17)   (†)
Croatia 487   (2.7) 19.9   (1.14) 0.6   (0.14) 4.5   (0.45) 14.8   (0.86) 26.6   (0.91) 28.6   (0.99) 19.0   (0.93) 5.9   (0.54) 5.4   (0.55) 0.5   (0.14)
                                                                   
Cyprus 443   (1.7) 35.6   (0.85) 4.4   (0.38) 11.4   (0.56) 19.8   (0.96) 27.0   (0.73) 23.0   (0.84) 11.3   (0.58) 3.1   (0.34) 2.8   (0.33) 0.2 ! (0.09)
Dominican Republic 358   (3.1) 72.1   (1.46) 13.1   (1.06) 28.2   (1.24) 30.8   (1.23) 19.5   (1.06) 7.0   (0.72) 1.3   (0.29)   (†)   (†) #   (†)
Georgia 401   (3.0) 51.7   (1.27) 9.5   (0.65) 16.4   (0.80) 25.8   (0.80) 25.4   (0.91) 16.1   (0.76) 5.7   (0.54) 1.1   (0.23) 1.1   (0.21)   (†)
Hong Kong (China) 527   (2.7) 9.3   (0.76) 0.3 ! (0.12) 2.0   (0.28) 7.0   (0.61) 18.1   (0.93) 32.1   (1.07) 29.0   (0.97) 11.6   (0.86) 10.4   (0.82) 1.1   (0.21)
Indonesia 397   (2.9) 55.4   (1.49) 3.8   (0.65) 16.8   (1.07) 34.8   (1.05) 30.9   (1.13) 11.7   (0.78) 1.9   (0.32)   (†)   (†)   (†)
                                                                   
Jordan 408   (2.9) 46.3   (1.40) 7.4   (0.70) 13.7   (0.76) 25.2   (0.92) 30.7   (0.76) 18.7   (0.94) 4.1   (0.39) 0.3 ! (0.10) 0.3 ! (0.10)   (†)
Kosovo 347   (1.6) 76.9   (0.89) 14.6   (0.74) 28.0   (0.95) 34.2   (1.13) 19.4   (0.93) 3.6   (0.43)   (†) #   (†) #   (†) #   (†)
Lebanon 347   (4.4) 70.4   (1.63) 24.1   (1.51) 24.5   (1.32) 21.7   (1.11) 15.8   (1.00) 9.4   (0.85) 3.6   (0.49) 0.8   (0.25) 0.7 ! (0.25)   (†)
Lithuania 472   (2.7) 25.1   (0.93) 1.3   (0.24) 6.7   (0.51) 17.1   (0.72) 27.1   (0.81) 26.7   (0.91) 16.7   (0.90) 4.4   (0.51) 4.1   (0.46) 0.4 ! (0.11)
Macao (China) 509   (1.3) 11.7   (0.45) 0.3 ! (0.10) 2.1   (0.26) 9.3   (0.50) 23.1   (0.83) 34.2   (0.91) 24.4   (0.87) 6.7   (0.55) 6.2   (0.53) 0.5   (0.14)
                                                                   
Macedonia, Republic of 352   (1.4) 70.7   (0.73) 18.8   (0.68) 24.1   (0.82) 27.7   (0.91) 19.3   (0.76) 8.1   (0.56) 1.7   (0.24)   (†)   (†)   (†)
Malta 447   (1.8) 35.6   (0.84) 7.5   (0.48) 11.1   (0.75) 17.0   (0.93) 22.5   (0.84) 22.5   (0.84) 13.9   (0.71) 5.6   (0.42) 4.7   (0.45) 0.9   (0.24)
Massachusetts4 (USA) 527   (6.0) 11.3   (1.28) 0.5 ! (0.22) 2.3   (0.52) 8.5   (1.15) 17.9   (1.56) 29.7   (1.58) 26.7   (1.78) 14.5   (1.63) 11.9   (1.51) 2.5   (0.61)
Moldova, Republic of 416   (2.5) 45.8   (1.14) 5.9   (0.47) 14.7   (0.68) 25.1   (0.92) 27.7   (0.85) 18.7   (0.76) 6.6   (0.56) 1.2   (0.23) 1.1   (0.21)   (†)
Montenegro, Republic of 427   (1.6) 41.9   (0.73) 4.1   (0.32) 13.0   (0.66) 24.9   (0.81) 28.6   (0.74) 20.2   (0.58) 7.9   (0.45) 1.4   (0.28) 1.3   (0.27)   (†)
                                                                   
North Carolina4 (USA) 500   (5.4) 18.0   (1.44) 0.6 ! (0.28) 3.8   (0.66) 13.6   (1.24) 23.4   (1.63) 28.0   (1.51) 21.0   (1.79) 9.6   (1.05) 8.5   (0.99) 1.2 ! (0.35)
Peru 398   (2.9) 53.9   (1.49) 6.4   (0.57) 19.2   (0.95) 28.3   (1.13) 27.3   (0.91) 15.0   (0.81) 3.5   (0.50) 0.3 ! (0.10) 0.3 ! (0.10)   (†)
Puerto Rico (USA) 410   (7.1) 50.4   (3.21) 5.8   (1.37) 16.6   (2.25) 28.0   (1.84) 25.8   (1.97) 16.4   (1.83) 6.2   (1.23) 1.2 ! (0.39) 1.1 ! (0.38)   (†)
Qatar 402   (1.0) 51.6   (0.49) 11.1   (0.32) 17.7   (0.44) 22.8   (0.61) 22.7   (0.50) 16.8   (0.49) 7.4   (0.33) 1.6   (0.17) 1.4   (0.16) 0.1 ! (0.04)
Romania 434   (4.1) 38.7   (1.86) 3.7   (0.55) 11.6   (0.88) 23.4   (1.19) 29.5   (1.18) 21.3   (1.23) 8.4   (0.85) 2.0   (0.39) 1.8   (0.37) 0.2 ! (0.07)
                                                                   
Russian Federation 495   (3.1) 16.2   (1.20) 0.3 ! (0.10) 3.2   (0.42) 12.8   (0.99) 27.1   (0.98) 30.7   (1.12) 19.3   (1.00) 6.6   (0.60) 5.9   (0.59) 0.8   (0.17)
Singapore 535   (1.6) 11.1   (0.52) 0.3 ! (0.12) 2.5   (0.24) 8.3   (0.42) 16.9   (0.54) 26.2   (0.74) 27.4   (0.73) 18.4   (0.70) 14.7   (0.66) 3.6   (0.35)
Thailand 409   (3.3) 50.0   (1.76) 2.8   (0.43) 15.1   (1.07) 32.1   (1.03) 31.1   (0.97) 15.0   (0.98) 3.7   (0.54) 0.3 ! (0.12) 0.3 ! (0.12) #   (†)
Trinidad and Tobago 427   (1.5) 42.5   (0.90) 5.7   (0.52) 14.3   (0.67) 22.5   (0.85) 25.6   (1.00) 20.3   (0.88) 9.2   (0.63) 2.4   (0.30) 2.2   (0.30) 0.2 ! (0.09)
Tunisia 361   (3.1) 71.6   (1.28) 11.1   (1.13) 26.6   (1.08) 33.9   (1.17) 21.0   (1.10) 6.5   (0.59) 0.8   (0.22)   (†)   (†) #   (†)
                                                                   
United Arab Emirates 434   (2.9) 40.4   (1.20) 5.4   (0.44) 13.2   (0.65) 21.8   (0.67) 25.4   (0.63) 20.5   (0.79) 10.7   (0.60) 3.0   (0.35) 2.7   (0.31) 0.3   (0.08)
Uruguay 437   (2.5) 39.0   (1.11) 3.0   (0.33) 12.5   (0.74) 23.5   (0.84) 27.8   (0.81) 21.3   (0.84) 9.3   (0.58) 2.5   (0.40) 2.3   (0.37) 0.2 ! (0.09)
Vietnam 487   (3.7) 13.8   (1.45)   (†) 1.7   (0.38) 12.1   (1.32) 32.5   (1.47) 35.2   (1.33) 15.8   (1.19) 2.7   (0.71) 2.5   (0.65)   (†)
†Not applicable.
#Rounds to zero.
!Interpret data with caution. The coefficient of variation (CV) for this estimate is between 30 and 50 percent.
‡Reporting standards not met. The coefficient of variation (CV) for this estimate is 50 percent or greater.
1 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) scores are reported on a scale from 0 to 1,000.
2 To reach a particular proficiency level, a student must correctly answer a majority of items at that level. Students were classified into reading literacy levels according to their scores. Exact cut scores are as follows: below level 1b (a score less than 262.04); level 1b (a score of at least 262.04 but less than 334.75); level 1a (a score of at least 334.75 but less than 407.47); level 2 (a score of at least 407.47 but less than 480.18); level 3 (a score of at least 480.18 but less than 552.89); level 4 (a score of at least 552.89 but less than 625.61); level 5 (a score of at least 625.61 but less than 698.32); and level 6 (a score of at least 698.32).
3 Refers to the mean of the data values for all Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, to which each country contributes equally, regardless of the absolute size of the student population of each country.
4 Results are for public school students only.
NOTE: Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding.
SOURCE: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), 2015. (This table was prepared December 2016.)