When it comes to education, where does the United States stand among the OECD countries? This article examines the share of male and female bachelor’s degree holders. It also reveals which states offer the best and worst education systems. Read on to discover the country’s strengths and weaknesses in education. OECD countries have higher graduation rates and PISA scores than U.S. schools. However, many areas could be improved in education in the United States.
OECD countries with the Highest and Lowest PISA Scores
According to the OECD, the differences between the education systems of OECD countries with the highest and lowest PISA scores are striking. The highest PISA score in China is a remarkable 60 points higher than the lowest. In addition, the Chinese government has long experimented with adaptive computer testing. Moreover, the OECD secretariat may have been aware of legitimate reasons for substituting the provinces. This could be an innocent coincidence.
China’s apparent dominance in the PISA 2018 results must be taken with a grain of salt. This is because China has 183 million students, and their scores are based on the average score across several OECD countries. In addition, China’s scores are based on a sample of pupils in four provinces: Shanghai, Beijing, and Jiangsu. The rest of the countries did not enter PISA until 2009.
In international comparison, Finland’s performance is outstanding. It sits at the top of the OECD and European nations. However, Asian education systems dominate the top positions. The Asian education systems begin from a different level than Finland’s. The Nordic countries and English-speaking countries lag behind Finland, with lower scores. This is a symptom of the broader educational challenges in those countries.
The OECD’s PISA test measures 15-year-olds’ reading, mathematics, and science skills. The tests are a reflection of the educational preparation of those nations. Countries with higher scores do not necessarily mean that their education systems are better than their neighbors. Those with low scores tend to have lower PISA scores, while those with high scores often excel in all three subjects.
However, the OECD countries with the lowest and highest PISA scores have a number of significant differences. One of them is the socio-economic background of students. Countries with the highest PISA scores have a high proportion of students from poor backgrounds. In Finland, for example, students from lower socio-economic backgrounds are significantly better educated than their peers from higher-income families. In the United States, the gap between the lowest and highest-income students is a little higher than in France but is still relatively narrow.
While Finland had a large reading literacy gender gap, Finland’s reading performance has been a focus of attention for nearly two decades. The gap was the largest among OECD countries. In 2009, girls’ reading skill levels surpassed boys’, and girls’ math skills finally caught up to the boys’ level. Even though the OECD countries are all striving to increase reading literacy levels, the gender gap in reading performance continues to be a major issue in our society.
OECD Countries with the Highest and Lowest TIMSS scores
The OECD publishes its PISA and TIMSS assessment results to compare educational performance across member countries. The TIMSS scores are based on student performances from eighth grade, while PISA measures results for fifteen-year-olds. TIMSS’s results are close to PISA’s, but the TIMSS averages include all participating countries. As a result, the international average includes more than a dozen OECD countries, some non-OECD jurisdictions, and many less-developed ones. Including low-performing countries lowers the average but improves student performance in the individual countries.
TIMSS assessments include data on student performance in various areas of mathematics and science, including problem-solving challenges. Additionally, TIMSS collects data on policy-relevant factors, including curricular, instructional, and resource factors. For example, questionnaires are filled out by teachers, school principals, and curriculum coordinators. TIMSS scores can show whether a school is providing quality education for students.
The TIMSS surveys are conducted in schools rather than at home and therefore lack information on parents’ education, employment, and family structure. However, they include information about a child’s performance, such as whether they attended school, how much money they earned, and their gender. Further, TIMSS scores are robust even when Norway is excluded from the sample. Although the U.S. has relatively high test scores, it has high levels of inequality, suggesting that it could need targeted support to reduce inequality.
TIMSS also includes extensive data on teacher and school characteristics, likely affecting student achievement. The following table presents descriptive statistics for these factors. In the case of math and science, teacher and school characteristics may also have an impact on student performance. The results of TIMSS are particularly relevant to educational policymakers, but they should evaluate them with caution. The TIMSS data are a valuable resource. This analysis provides a snapshot of the global education system.
Portugal, a founding member of the OECD, participated in the first PISA assessment in 2000. During this period, Portugal ranked bottom among PISA participants, with science, reading, and mathematics scores. Despite these results, the country’s students’ performance stabilized after undergoing reforms. Portugal was the only OECD country to maintain a positive trend across the three domains from 2000 to 2018.
The OECD has a database containing data about the results of the TIMSS test in nearly 80 nations. The TIMSS data does not represent the entire country but rather selected regions within each country. For instance, the TIMSS results for China are based on four provinces and not the entire country. Nonetheless, these provinces are among the richest in the country, with incomes two to three times the national average.
OECD Countries with the Lowest PISA Scores
A new report by the OECD reveals that the countries with the lowest PISA scores also have the lowest educational standards. The PISA test is an international assessment of a school’s educational system and claims to be able to summarize the entire education system in three numbers. The scores are based on data collected in 79 countries. Students from these countries tested their reading, math, science, and technology abilities. The test is considered more reliable than other measures of education quality, such as years of schooling or post-formal education. The average score for students from these countries was 488. Girls scored slightly higher than boys.
While PISA claims to measure only the “essential” skills required by modern economies, its use of this single test is highly problematic. The fact is that it reflects a narrow view of education. Instead of examining the wider responsibilities of educational systems, PISA emphasizes only those subjects that boost a society’s competitiveness. Consequently, it skews the results of education in favor of authoritarian regimes.
The PISA assessment focuses on the performance of 15-year-old students in mathematics, reading, and science. This assessment tests students in seven countries, and 79 countries participated in the 2002 survey. A total of 600,000 students took the test. Countries with the lowest PISA scores are ranked first and third in the OECD. They should focus on improving their education systems to improve their performance. So, the best way to improve education is to improve the standards of education for all students.
While China’s performance is apparent, it should be tempered. While it is important to highlight achievements in education, this report also shows the social and economic conditions of the countries. Countries in the United States, for example, have significantly lower educational standards than other OECD nations. Despite this apparent difference, the U.S. is ranked 22nd. And while China has the lowest PISA scores, it is far from being a poor example of how to improve education.
The best performing school systems are those where the quality of education is equally high for all students. Students in Canada, Estonia, Finland, Israel, and Luxembourg generally perform well, regardless of social status. In the latter two countries, the gap between students from low socio-economic backgrounds and those from the upper class is 120 points. However, this gap is considerably smaller than the OECD average. The most significant difference in the PISA scores comes from the students’ socio-economic backgrounds.
In almost all participating countries, the proportion of low-performing students has fallen. The total number of low-performing students was significantly smaller than in 2000, indicating progress toward achieving greater equality in learning outcomes. But the percentage of low-performing students has not changed dramatically across OECD countries. In 2009, nearly half of the 15-year-old students in Chile, Portugal, and Poland did not meet the minimum proficiency level in reading or mathematics.