Students in the United States are only average compared to their international counterparts, according to a new study that ranked the U.S. 14th out of 34 countries in reading skills, 17th in science and 25th in mathematics.
The report was issued by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in its Programme for International Student Assessment report, or PISA, which evaluates the efficiencies of school systems in the 70 countries that make up nine-tenths of the world economy. Over 500,000 15-year-olds were studied in countries including Canada, China, Mexico and the United Kingdom.
The OECD is a Paris-based umbrella group of the world’s industrial powers that collects data and makes recommendations about economic and development issues but is not a regulatory body.
Eighteen percent of U.S. teens did not reach the survey’s set level for reading proficiency, while only 10 percent in China failed to do so. Further, only eight countries had a lower high school and college graduation rate than the U.S. In that category, the U.S. has fallen from second to 13th between 1995 and 2008 because of increased graduation rates in other countries.
The U.S. also rated poorly in school enrollment, ranking third from the bottom in the report.
The OECD report said the U.S. must show “that value education more than other areas of national interest” in order to climb back up the ranks.
“Bringing the United States up to the average performance of Finland, the best-performing education system among OECD countries, could result in gains in the order of $103 trillion dollars,” the report stated.