The recent flurry of test results on how American students are faring in school has resulted in much commentary decrying their dismal performance compared to their international peers.
The PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) study recently released by the National Center for Education Statistics compared the performance of 15-year-old students among 65 countries, including all 34 member countries of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and confirmed what was already widely known: U.S. students are nowhere near the top in math, science, or literacy. Twenty-nine educational systems turn out better students than does the United States in mathematics, while students in 22 systems were more capable in science than were U.S. students. In reading literacy 19 educational systems turned out more skilled students than the U.S. public school system.
Eighth-graders participating in the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) test given under the auspices of the Department of Education showed no significant improvement over their dismal performance recorded four years ago. Just 18 percent of them scored at or above the Proficient level in U.S. history, while 27 percent scored Proficient in geography, and 23 percent reached or exceeded that level in civics.
The latest from Pew Research — “What the Public Knows” — showed that