Special Reports

U.S. Students Perform Poorly Compared to Other Countries


According to a worldwide survey conducted by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 2015, Singapore topped 71 other countries in student performance in science, math, and reading. U.S. students, however, are found to be needing help in math.

The 2015 Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA, is a survey that had around 540,000 15-year-old students from 72 different countries and economies taking science, reading, math, and problem-solving exams. The main focus was on science.

Based on the results, U.S. students performed on average in reading and science, but need more improvements in math. In reading, U.S. students had a score of 497, which is almost similar to the PISA average of 493. For science, U.S students had a score of 496, which is almost equal to the average score 493.

In math, however, U.S. students are below average, at 470 points compared to 490. This result is lower than earlier test scores, indicating a steady decline in student math performance since 2009, the Associated Press reported.

The U.S. was outperformed by 36 countries in math, 18 in science, and 14 in reading. The results, according to U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr, is a cause for concern.

"We're losing ground - a troubling prospect when, in today's knowledge-based economy, the best jobs can go anywhere in the world," King told the AP. "Students in Massachusetts, Maryland, and Minnesota aren't just vying for great jobs along with their neighbors or across state lines, they must be competitive with peers in Finland, Germany, and Japan."

In comparison, Singapore outperformed all OECD countries in all subjects. It had scores of 535 in reading, 556 in science, and 564 in math. Lebanon, on the other hand, performed poorly in reading with 347, whereas the Dominican Republic only had 332 and 328 in science and math, respectively.

Still, despite the high scores achieved by certain nations, all of them have room for improvement, said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría.

"Every country has room for improvement, even the top performers," Gurría said in a press release. "With high levels of youth unemployment, rising inequality, a significant gender gap, and an urgent need to boost inclusive growth in many countries, more must be done to ensure every child has the best education possible."

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