American Adults Rank Below Average in Vocabulary, Mathematics, and Technology
American Adults Receive a “D” in Math, Literacy, and Problem Solving
A report released by Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has revealed that America is not number one in literacy proficiency among adults. This report compared the more developed countries against each other to determine which ones displayed overall proficiency in literacy, numeracy, and problem solving in technology-rich environments.
When compared to the rest of the world, the US wasn’t even close to the top of the score sheets. In math, Americans scored 253 out of 500 possible points which puts us behind Japan, Finland, Belgium, Netherlands, and Sweden. The average score for the entire assessment was a 269 which means that not only are we not in the number one spot, but we lag behind the average.
Japan leads the world in numeracy and they are the only country that was able to score in the level 4/5 range. As well as dominating in higher levels of math, Japan also had fewer scores below level one.
The list of countries who out performed the US is worth mentioning since we assume that this is the 1950s and we are the best in the world. Other than the top five scores, these countries outperformed Americans on the numeracy portion of the proficiency assessment: Norway, Denmark, Slovak Republic, Czech Republic, Austria, Estonia, Germany, Australia, Canada, Cyprus, Korea, UK, Poland, Ireland, and France.
How can we possibly assume that we are the best in the world when are outscored in numeracy proficiency by countries like Korea and the Czech Republic? Could most Americans even locate those countries on a map? If it is Miley Cyrus or Kardashian news your are seeking then the US has it covered, but when it comes to simple math we are below the curve.
On the portion of the test which determines literacy proficiency among 16-65 year-olds, America also scored below average. Again, we were beat out by Japan who ranked number one in literacy. We aren’t even in the top ten countries in the world in this portion of the assessment test.
Literacy is defined by the report as the “ability to understand, evaluate, use, and engage with written texts to participate in society, to achieve one’s goals, and to develop one’s knowledge and potential.”
Simply put, our nation has nearly the same level of literacy as Poland, Cyprus, and Austria.
In the age of computers, America still has a below average score in problem solving in technology-rich environments. We founded big companies such as Microsoft and Apple in the US but that doesn’t meant that we know how to use technology better because of it. The scores show that Sweden, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, and Denmark are better in technology-rich environments than we are.
Hopefully by now the point has been made clear, we aren’t number one in education. In fact, we scored below average which would give us a “D” grade on our report cards for school.
For the fiscal year of 2012, the amount of federal education spending was $107.6 billion. When it comes to defense, that amount of money that was spent in 2011 was $695.7 billion. This was more money than the next five countries combined for defense spending. (China, Japan, UK, France, and Russia)
We could spend far less on defense and divert that money into the education of this country but it might not work. Studies have shown that more money spent per student doesn’t necessarily mean that they will perform better in school.
In 2008, the top scoring students in the world were South Korea, Japan, USA, Switzerland, and Luxembourg. The average expenditure per student for that year was $8,169 but the highest scoring country was South Korea who only spent $6,723 per student.
Money can’t buy performance and this assessment showed that although the US spent $10,995 per student they scored lower than South Korea and Japan.
American education is seriously lacking if Japan and South Korea are able to spend less money and outperform our students. Perhaps if class sizes were smaller then each student could get the adequate attention they need to achieve better test scores. When students were placed into smaller class sizes in Tennessee and Wisconsin they scored higher than their peers.
“Smaller classes in grades K-3rd do better in every way that can be measured: they score higher on tests, receive better grades, and exhibit improved attendance.” — Parents Across America