Advancing a Free Society

With a Math Proficiency Rate of 32 Percent, U.S. Ranks Number 32

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Thirty-two percent of U.S. students in the class of 2011 were proficient in mathematics when they were in 8thgrade, according to the official U. S. report card on student achievement. Coincidentally, that places the United States in 32nd place among the 65 nations of the world that participated in PISA, the math test administered by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), my colleagues and I report today in a research paper available at Harvard’s Program on Education Policy and Governance.

That 32 percent proficiency rate compares to a 50 percent or better proficiency rate in  Korea, Finland, Switzerland, Japan, Canada and the Netherlands. In Shanghai, the proficiency rate is no less than 75 percent.  Many other nations also had math proficiency rates well above that of the United States, including Germany (45 percent), Australia (44 percent), and France (39 percent).

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(photo credit: Bill S)