According to the latest results of a comprehensive set of international exams released Tuesday, America’s teens have remained mid-pack among their peers worldwide and utterly stagnant in reading, math and science over the last 10 years.
But as America’s 15-year-olds failed to improve on the Programme for International Student Assessment and East Asian countries maintained their top slots, other countries not generally known for their academic prowess — many of whom have diverse and poor populations — have become breakout stars of a sort. Poland, Germany and Ireland showed tremendous growth, and Vietnam, which administered the exam for the first time in 2012, wound up among the top-performing countries, eclipsing the U.S. in math and science. Results like these herald Sputnik moment-type fears, leading some officials to believe the U.S. is losing its competitive edge.
“While we are seeing some encouraging progress on many important measures, the United States’ performance on the 2012 PISA is a picture of educational stagnation. This is a reality at odds with our aspiration to have the best-educated, most competitive workforce in the world,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a statement.
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