The U.S. is no longer number one in college attainment. It’s 18th (or 6th depending on how you measure) in the world. These are the statistics frequently bemoaned by the Obama administration and used to back up all new education initiatives. But it’s not just the U.S. that’s losing the education race. A look at international measures of high school capabilities reveals that some unexpected countries are surging forward.
According to an article in the New York Times by D.D. Guttenplan:
A respected international survey that found teenagers in Shanghai to be the best-educated in the world has prompted officials elsewhere across the globe to question their own educational systems, and even led the British education minister to promise an overhaul in student testing.
PISA, conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, based in Paris, is a set of standardized tests that weighs reading comprehension, mathematics and science, and is taken by half a million 15-year-olds in 65 countries.
The top performing countries are, in order:
4. Hong Kong-China
7. New Zealand
17. United States
The next steps are a little unclear. The United States has done rather poorly on PISA for years and while it often addresses the dismal results, the annual report has yet to spur major reform.
Britain, however, says it plans to improve its education be unequivocally doing what other, higher-scoring countries, are currently doing. Britain will “explicitly borrow from these education tiger nations,” said Education Minister Michael Gove. [Image via]