US Students Lag Behind In PISA Test 2018


The report for the PISA Test 2018 is in, and it seems the United States and the United Kingdom have all suffered a slight educational blow, as countries like China and Estonia take the top spots.

PISA, is the Programme for International Student Assessment conducted by Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD). The test is carried out globally every three years to measure basic math skills, knowledge of science and reading abilities of 15-year-old students. Students are also tested on their ability to tackle a new and innovative concept on the triennial test. For the year 2018 the skill tested was global competence.

There is neither a significant improvement nor a remarkable decline in the test scores for the US students

The results reveal that the students from United States show little to no improvement in the either of the three core skills; reading, science and math. In fact, the US students performed below average on the math skill test.

The report clearly states, “students in the United States performed above the OECD average in reading (505 score points) and science (502), and below the OECD average in mathematics (478).”

A startling discovery of the report is that the gap between better performing students and the ones who are unable to meet the PISA standards, continues to increase. The research limb of the US Department of Education called the National Center for Education Statistics, published a report of its own after the release of the PISA report.

It has become vividly clear that the gap between student performances is continuously increasing not only in the US but also other countries. Since the test was first administered in 2000, out the 79 countries sitting for the test only 7 have shown remarkable improvement.

According to the PISA Test 2018 report, higher spending in the education department does not necessarily guarantee a positive outcome. US is not alone in this regard, as other countries like Australia and the United Kingdom are in the same boat when it comes to the negatively skewed spending vs outcome relationship.

There is neither a significant improvement nor a remarkable decline in the test scores for the US students. The PISA findings take in account several factor including the social-economic background of students. It is apparent from test result that the US needs to closely monitor the gaps within its education system to attain the top position.

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