Math, Science, and Reading Tests Have Mixed Results for US Students

December 11, 2012  |  


Two international reports were released this week, analyzing how students around the world perform in math, science, and reading. The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study and the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study show mixed results for US students.

Looking at fourth and eighth grade students, the US performed better than it has in the past, but still fell behind students in Singapore and Hong Kong, especially in math and science, the Washington Post reported. Several states requested to be tested separately, including Florida, Minnesota, and Massachusetts, and often performed better than the US average, though there were some critics with concerns.

According to The New York Times, the US was 11th and 7th for fourth-grade math and science, respectively, and 9th and 10th for eighth-grade math and science. For reading, US students overall ranked 6th.

There were some findings that came out showing the differences among race and ethnicity in the tests. According to the Washington Post, white, Asian, and multiracial students in the US performed better than average on the reading tests, while blacks and Hispanics scored lower.

And CBS News went into more depth: “Racial and class disparities are all too real. In eighth grade, Americans in the schools with the highest poverty—those with 75 percent or more of students on free or reduced-price lunch—performed below both the US average and the lower international average. Students at schools with fewer poor kids performed better. In fourth-grade reading, all ethnic groups outperformed the international average, but white and Asian students did better than their black and Hispanic classmates.”

Education reform is a big issue in this country, with educators, charter schools, and the public education system looking to find ways to improve results nationwide. Just last week, the Chicago Teachers Union accused the city’s public education system of racism.

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