U.S. Students In the Middle Of The Pack, Educationally

Political Myth: Students in K-12 schools in the United States are routinely outperformed by students in other parts of the world

Reality: Relative to the rest of the world, students in the United States are about average.


Every three years, since 2000, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development — an international organization of 34 primarily developed countries, conducts “PISA,” or the Programme for International Student Assessment.  PISA assessment tests are given to 15-year-olds in various countries, to measure their abilities in the areas of reading, math and science.  In 2009, the most recent year in which the PISA assessment was given, the United States was roughly average in all three areas.  Generally, American students outperformed students in Central and South America and most of Western Europe (UK, Spain, France, Germany), but they did not perform as well as students in Scandinavia, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, or most of the major Asian nations.  The best-performing students were from Shanghai, followed by South Korea, Finland, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

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