New U.S. Student Scores on International Assessments

This week, the results of the 2012 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) tests were released; comparing student performance in science, math, and reading across 64 countries.  As a whole, U.S. teenagers scored slightly higher than average in reading, average in science and below average in math; these results are essentially unchanged since the first administration of the test in 2000.

Shanghai province in China garnered top test results in all three categories, replacing Finland in the number one ranking.

The test is administered every three years to 15- year-olds across the globe by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and is designed to test how well students can apply what they have learned in school to real-life situations. In a report on the PISA results, OECD defines top performers as those who can “develop models for complex situations, and work strategically using broad, well-developed thinking and reasoning skills.”

The most recent test is the 5th survey by OECD; approximately 500,000 students aged 15 to 16 years participated, representing an estimated 28 million students worldwide.  In math, 28 countries placed higher than U.S. students; in science, 22 placed higher; in reading, 19 countries scored higher.

Reactions to the PISA results are widespread and have already fueled ongoing debates about school reform, Common Core standards, testing, early childhood education, and teacher preparation. Stay tuned for more reactions and commentary, and tell us what you think here!

OECD/PISA Results: Graph (source: Washington Post)

How U.S. students compare internationally

Read More about the PISA Results:

OECD Website: PISA 2012 Results

Washington Post: Key PISA Test Results for U.S. Students

Washington Post Article:  Students Lag Around Average on International Science, Math, and Reading Test

Shannon Kelly, Director of Advocacy, December 3, 2013. © National Association for Music Education (