The PISA 2015 results show that U.S. math scores were lower, on average, than OECD member nations, while U.S. scores in science and reading were not significantly different from the OECD average.
"Mathematics remains the subject that the U.S. fares worst in, comparatively, and our students continue to score below the average for OECD member nations," said Peggy G. Carr, NCES acting commissioner. "Of particular concern is that we also have a higher percentage of students who score in the lowest performance levels, compared to the OECD average, and a lower percentage of top math performers."
For the first time, a combined average score is available for four provinces in mainland China: Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu, Guangdong (B-S-J-G). Average science literacy and mathematics literacy scores were higher for the four China provinces than for the U.S., but average reading literacy scores for the four China provinces and the U.S. were not measurably different.
"PISA shows how our 15-year-olds are performing compared to their peers in a very diverse group of participating systems, including nearly every advanced economy in the world," Carr said. "And PISA is especially valuable because it measures applied literacy skills, which are the skills students need to be prepared for the challenges of life as young adults. PISA is unique because it measures how well students can apply the knowledge they've gained in and out of school to real-life situations."
Massachusetts, North Carolina, and Puerto Rico participated in the 2015 assessment as international benchmarking systems and received separate scores from the United States.
Massachusetts's average scores were higher than the U.S. and OECD average scores in all three subjects; North Carolina's average scores were not measurably different from the U.S. average scores for all three subjects; and Puerto Rico's average scores were lower than both the average U.S. scores and the OECD average scores for all three subjects.
The full report is available at http://nces.ed.gov/surveys/pisa/
The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a principal agency of the U.S. Federal Statistical System, is the statistical center of the U.S. Department of Education and the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data related to education in the U.S. and other nations. A part of the Institute of Education Sciences, NCES fulfills a congressional mandate to collect, collate, analyze, and report complete statistics on the condition of American education; conduct and publish reports; and review and report on education activities internationally.
The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), first implemented in 2000, is an international assessment that measures the performance of 15-year-old students in reading literacy, mathematics literacy, and science literacy. PISA 2015 was the sixth cycle of the assessment. Target populations for PISA include all 15-year-olds in education institutions with grade 7 or higher, regardless of the type of education institution or whether it is publicly or privately funded. Students could be excluded for functional or intellectual disabilities or limited proficiency in the test language. The U.S. sample included both public and private schools, randomly selected and weighted to be representative of the nation's 15-year-old students.
PISA was developed and organized by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The OECD is an intergovernmental organization made up of 35 mostly industrialized member countries like the United States, Japan, Germany, the Republic of Korea, and the United Kingdom.
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SOURCE National Center for Education Statistics