The December 2010 edition of The Atlantic has an article “Your Child Left Behind” that looks at how students in individual American states compare with students in other countries. Measuring the percentage of students who scored Advanced in standardized math proficiency tests, the study that’s the subject of the article found the top five countries and their percentage of high math performers to be:
- Taiwan – 28.0%
- Hong Kong – 23.9%
- Korea – 23.2%
- Finland – 20.4%
- Switzerland – 19.1%
The top ranking US state was Massachusetts which tied with Slovenia for 17th place with 11.4% of students scoring advanced in math. Minnesota was the next state with 10.8% and then a bunch were grouped at the 6-7% level, wedged between Norway and Spain. The lowest scoring state was Mississippi with only 1% advanced. It was in ahead of Chile and Thailand.
An interactive graphic showing all the scores in the study is on The Atlantic website.
Given the chronic bashing of our public schools here in the Commonwealth, I thought this paragraph from the article was worth sharing:
Reading the list, one cannot help but thank God for Massachusetts, which offers the United States some shred of national dignity – a result echoed in other international tests. “If all American fourth- and eighth-grade kids did as well in math and science as they do in Massachusetts,” writes the veteran education author Karin Chenoweth in her 2009 book, How It’s Being Done, “we still wouldn’t be in Singapore’s league but we’d be giving Japan and Chinese Taipei a run for their money.”