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US Adults Score ‘Below Average’ On Global Test

From the Associated Press:

US adults score below average on worldwide test

By KIMBERLY HEFLING | October 8, 2013

WASHINGTON (AP) — It’s long been known that America’s school kids haven’t measured well compared with international peers. Now, there’s a new twist: Adults don’t either.

In math, reading and problem-solving using technology — all skills considered critical for global competitiveness and economic strength — American adults scored below the international average on a global test, according to results released Tuesday.

Adults in Japan, Canada, Australia, Finland and multiple other countries scored significantly higher than the United States in all three areas on the test. Beyond basic reading and math, respondents were tested on activities such as calculating mileage reimbursement due to a salesman, sorting email and comparing food expiration dates on grocery store tags.

Not only did Americans score poorly compared to many international competitors, the findings reinforced just how large the gap is between the nation’s high- and low-skilled workers and how hard it is to move ahead when your parents haven’t.

In both reading and math, for example, those with college-educated parents did better than those whose parents did not complete high school.

The study, called the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies, found that it was easier on average to overcome this and other barriers to literacy overseas than in the United States.

Researchers tested about 166,000 people ages 16 to 65 in more than 20 countries and subnational regions. The test was developed and released by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which is made up of mostly industrialized member countries. The Education Department’s Center for Education Statistics participated…

Among the other findings:

—Americans scored toward the bottom in the category of problem solving in a technology rich environment. The top five scores in the areas were from Japan, Finland, Australia, Sweden and Norway, while the U.S. score was on par with England, Estonia, Ireland and Poland. In nearly all countries, at least 10 percent of adults lacked the most basic of computer skills such as using a mouse.

—Japanese and Dutch adults who were ages 25 to 34 and only completed high school easily outperformed Italian or Spanish university graduates of the same age. …

—Japan, Finland, Canada, Netherlands, Australia, Sweden, Norway, Flanders-Belgium, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, and Korea all scored significantly higher than the United States in all three areas on the test.

—The average scores in literacy range from 250 in Italy to 296 in Japan. The U.S. average score was 270. (500 was the highest score in all three areas.) Average scores in 12 countries were higher than the average U.S. score.

—The average scores in math range from 246 in Spain to 288 in Japan. The U.S. average score was 253, below 18 other countries.

—The average scores on problem solving in technology-rich environments ranged from 275 in Poland to 294 in Japan. The U.S. average score was 277, below 14 other countries.

Naturally, the people who came up with this study are trying to use this to try to make the US give everyone in the country a free college education.

But how come we are always told we spend too much money as a country on healthcare, which used to be the best in the world. But nobody ever says we spend too much money on education, which is among the worst in the world?

By the way, Japan doesn’t have teachers unions. I wonder if there is any correlation.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, October 8th, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

4 Responses to “US Adults Score ‘Below Average’ On Global Test”

  1. Reality Bytes says:

    It just goes to show you, no matter how much you spend, “you just can’t fix stupid”.

  2. Right of the People says:

    Why are they comparing people whose parents finished college with those whose parents didn’t finish high school? Why not compare them with people whose parents DID finish high school?

    My dad didn’t finish high school because he went off to fight in WWII. He did get his GED eventually but both my sister, who was valedictorian of both her high school and college classes, and I have advanced degrees. Where is the correlation?

    Steve you’re correct, they just want to force everyone to go to college. I’m of the belief that 80% of the population doesn’t belong in college, that technical schooling would be much more beneficial to them and our economy. The rest of the country, thank the good Lord, is not California or Mexifornia as my old Border Patrol buddies call it..

  3. GetBackJack says:

    Forcing everyone to go to college is a financial scam. I’m watching it at work here in my community. A little piddly ass waste of space community college has been getting federal funding for ten years now, and the influx of ‘students’ (and I use the term with considerable derision) has been staggering. It’s been rebranded from a college to a University! From 3,000 students ten years ago to 12,000 current semester. Which means construction contracts, supply contracts, housing contracts, more business for local businesses etc etc etc

    All paid for with money borrowed on the backs of the stupid kid who’s going to get a ‘Degree” worth $1.19 at the local copy shop. No job prospects, no education to speak of except in 19th Century Lesbian Trombone studies and a pile of debt he cannot discharge via Bankruptcy.

    All a scam.

  4. platypus says:

    19th Century Lesbian Trombone studies?!?! You owe me a keyboard!

    Seriously, you are exactly right. And, the programmed dumbness of HS grads today benefits those same CCs turned universities. They have to remediate the incoming students to HS level competence. Usually takes a little over a semester, and it’s paid for by student loans. So you don’t really get to college until you’re a half year into it.

    Meanwhile, my stepson used a full scholarship to graduate from ASU summa cum laude, can’t find a job in his field. Too many immigrants on HB something or other visas. I told him screw it — I made it in my own business as a HS dropout so he can make it that way with twice the smarts.

    This is not my America.


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