U.S. Students Have Room to Improve

Technology may be a key in advancing the education of U.S. students compared with that of other countries.

In a recent comparison of academic performance in 57 countries, students in the U.S. performed near the middle of the pack. On average, 16 other industrialized countries scored above the United States in science, and 23 scored above us in math. The reading scores had to be tossed due to a printing error.

The United States’ scores remained about the same in math between 2003 and 2006, the two most recent years the test — the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) — was given. State comparisons that show a discrepancy in education within the U.S.:

>> Students in Massachusetts, one of the highest performing states, are on par with students in Japan in math.

>> In science, students in Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire,
North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont and Wisconsin are behind students in Singapore and Taiwan only, but are equal to or ahead of students in the other 45

>> Students in the District of Columbia had the lowest math scores in the U.S., putting them behind students in 29 countries, but ahead of 14 countries.

>> Students in Alabama, a low-performing state, do better in math and science than students in most foreign countries.

The World Economic Forum ranks the United States as number one out of 131 nations in global competitiveness, using primary and higher education as part of its calculations.

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