This is America's Math, Science, and Reading Report Card. And It Sucks.

America’s test scores are in, and they leave a lot to be desired. The results of the 2012 Program for International Student Assessment were released Tuesday, and America’s scores hovered around or below average, trailing countries like Shanghai, Japan, and Canada.

The Washington Post put together this graphic, illustrating how 15-year-olds in the United States stack up against their international competition:


Source: The Washington Post 

America scored barely above average in reading, slightly below average in science, and considerably below average in math. The 2-hour test was administered to 28 million 15-year-olds in more than 60 countries. America’s 15-year-olds, it turns out, are just about as run-of-the-mill as you can get.

The reason for America’s mediocrity, it seems, is stagnation. Jack Buckley, commissioner at the National Center for Education Statistics, says “We’re not seeing any improvement for our 15-year-olds … But our rank is flipping because a lot of these other countries are improving.”

Twenty-eight countries scored better than the U.S. in math, 22 countries in science, and 19 in math. Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Florida were assessed and ranked as individual states, with Massachusetts and Connecticut scoring above U.S. and international averages in all three categories, and Florida scoring below average in math and science and just about average in reading.

With the debate over educational standards in the U.S. ongoing – the Common Core has not had it easy – these scores won’t pacify any critics of the status quo. Whatever the U.S. is doing, it hasn’t worked, as scores have remained static while other countries jump ahead, leaving America lagging behind. 

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Benjamin Cosman

Ben graduated from SUNY Geneseo with a B.A. in English Literature and a minor in Political Science. He recently traveled through New England looking for pie. His second-favorite pastime is googling pictures of politicians laughing.

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