West loses edge to Asia in education: Top five OECD findings

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development group of industrialized nations released the results Tuesday of the test they give to 15-year-old students to measure math, science, and reading capabilities. The test, administered every three years by OECD's Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), was taken in 2009 in the 34 countries of the OECD and in 41 partner countries and economies (i.e. regional economic entities). Below, some of the top findings in the study, which was released today:

Asia leads the pack

A pilot program this year tested Chinese students in different cities and included them separately in the rankings. "Shanghai-China" outperformed all other global participants in an average of the three areas of evaluation (math, science, and reading). South Korea (2), Hong Kong-China (4), Singapore (5), and Japan (8) also placed in the the top 10. Non-Asian countries in the top 10 were Finland (3), Canada (6), New Zealand (7), Australia (9), and The Netherlands (10). The US was no. 17.

In the mathematics section, South Korea is the top OECD country, with a score of 546 (The OECD average is 496; the US scored a 487). South Korea was bested by three non-OECD participants, all in Asia: Shanghai, Singapore, and Hong Kong, in that order. Those three countries also took three of the top four spots in the science section. The US was on par with the OECD average in science.

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