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PISA 2012 results: U.S. scores still under OECD average

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PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) 2012 results were released today.

PISA is an international math, science, and reading literacy assessment administered to 15-year-olds in the OECD nations. The test holds strong emphasis on math literacy. U.S. scores were unimpressive, overall.

The U.S. averaged in the middle of the rankings with overall scores reflecting the average of all OECD countries. Scores were significantly below economic competitors' including Japan, Korea, and Germany. Asian countries occupied top rankings with Shanghai-China in the lead, then followed by Singapore, Hong Kong-China, Taiwan, and South Korea.

Math scores fell below the OECD average; however, there were no measurable changes in math and science scores between 2012 and previous years. White and Asian students in the U.S. performed higher than the U.S. and OECD math and science averages. There were performance gaps between socioeconomic groups, but not in gender.

The U.S. performed highest in reading literacy, scoring slightly higher than the OECD average (OEDC=496; U.S.=498). There was a decrease in the 90th percentile of scores between 2000 and 2012; there were no other changes in reading scores. U.S. White, Asian, and Multiracial students performed higher and Black and Latino students performed lower than U.S. and OECD averages. Performance gaps were apparent between both socioeconomic groups and gender.

PISA was initiated in 2000 and is administered to 15-year-olds every three years. The most recent assessment was given in 2012. The test included general problem-solving, financial-literacy, and computer-based components. Content knowledge was not limited to school-based curricula. 65 economies and about 28 million students participated globally. Three states participated in the U.S.: Florida, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.

See full rankings here.

For comments, questions, or story ideas, email Janice Chong at contactjanicechong@gmail.com.

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