The New York Times is reporting in an article this morning that a study recently released by the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) puts US students about the middle of the pack in the industrialized world on reading and math skills.
Of course, math was worse (we ranked 28 out of 40) and reading a little better (18 of 40), but more disturbing is that our students think they're good at math... in Hong Kong (rated near the top) students believe they aren't good at math.
Read on for more details about the study.
The study was taken of 250,000 15-year-olds in 41 nations (the UK didn't have enough participants to provide a valid sample). It also takes into consideration information about the individual students who are taking the tests, providing some ability to show some social equity information as well by looking at student performance against their parent's income and other socioeconomic attributes.
Based on the information in math, as an example, Korea is kicking everybody's butt on a price-performance basis, as they are at the top of the scale with half of the GDP per capita of the US. Norway, by the way is in about the same shape as the US in math, but has slightly more GDP per capita (thanks to oil in the North Sea).
Another interesting tidbit is that on their scale we spend more per capita on education than anyone except Switzerland.
In the end of the day, it may say something about educational equality, or it may not. I'm not a big believer in tests, but it should be some kind of indicator.