This story originally appeared in U.S. News and World Report.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development released the results of the international exams known as PISA yesterday, and most educators will not be surprised by the bad news. The results of the exams, which tests high schoolers in more than 60 countries, showed that U.S. high-school students demonstrated just average achievement in reading and science.
Even more alarming, U.S. students performed below average in math – in the same ranks as Lithuania and Russia. The consequences of continuing to fail to prepare our kids for college, the workforce and a global economy are clear and troubling.
But hidden in all the OECD data, there's also some very good news. In three states – Massachusetts, Florida and Connecticut – enough students took the exam to measure state specific performance on the international level. Only three educational systems worldwide statistically outperformed Massachusetts in reading, and only six in science and nine in math. If all students in the United States were performing at the level of high-schoolers in Massachusetts, our country would be at the top of the pack among peer nations.
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