15 year olds in the USA continue to test below their peers in other developed countries, reported Mitoko Rich (“American 15 Year Olds Lag, Mainly in Math, in International Standardized Tests,” New York Times, 12/3/13). The test, called PISA, (Program For International Student Assessment) was given to 15 year old students in 65 countries. While the results were similar in 2009, this year two countries edged ahead of the US: Poland and Ireland. Students in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Japan outscored US students in all areas. 29 countries or educational systems outscored the US in math, while in science 22 countries outscored the US and 19 outscored the US in reading.
Long terms economic output may be at stake. Erik Hanushek, an economist at Stanford University stated, “Our economy has been strong because we have a very good economic system that is able to overcome the deficiencies of the education system. But increasingly, we have to rely on the skills of our work force, and if we don’t improve that, we’re going to be slipping.”