U.S. is average on international tests

On two international tests, U.S. students scored in the middle of the pack in reading, math and science, concludes an Education Department analysis. Curriculum Matters reports:

On the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study 2007, both 4th and 8th graders scored above the scale average in math, and scores for U.S. students increased since 1995. Fourth graders in eight of the 35 other countries taking the test scored higher on average than 4th graders in the United States. Eighth graders in five of the 47 other participating countries performed better than U.S. students.

In both grades, top scorers came from Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and Japan.

On the Program for International Student Assessment 2006, given to 15-year-olds, U.S. students were below the average scale score in math. That put U.S. students in the bottom quarter of performance for participating countries. They’ve been in that spot since 2003.

In science, TIMSS 2007 showed above-average scores for U.S. 4th and 8th graders scored above the average scale score in science, while U.S. 15-year-olds scored below the average on PISA 2006. Again Asian students led the world.

U.S. students were above average, but nothing special, in reading, reports the Washington Examiner.

Russia, Hong Kong, Singapore and parts of Canada lead the world in reading at the elementary level, while Korean students earned top marks at the high school level, according to the report.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan used the results to call for national standards.

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