Top 10 Countries in the OECD Global Achievement Tests for 2009 - 2012
About PISA Global Testing
Global Academic Testing 1980 - 2010
In examining the results of academic achievement tests administered worldwide to high school students at age 15, I first noticed South Korea's advancement and overtaking the Number One slot on the Top 10 List in 1986. South Korea remained high in the Top 10 for many years.
Since that time, the tests have been reconstructed. They are currently called, since 2000, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation & Development tests and are administered to the youth of 65 (currently) counties only once every three years. In early December 2010, the results for the 2009 testing round were reported to the media.
These international tests of the Earth's 15-year-olds showed something interesting in 2009 results. Shanghai - China is the a city and, with its surrounds taken as a region or a separate economy from the rest of China, home to the youth that scored highest in all three subjects of the academic areas of the assessment, beating every other country.
Shanghai scored highest in Overall Reading, Mathematics, and Science. Hong Kong - China (another city-region) scored either 3rd or 4th in each of these subjects, gaining further recognition for Chinese education. These two regions are in the Top 5 highest-scring countries in all three areas of assessment.
Japan is no longer at the top of these achievement lists, scoring 8th in Reading, 9th in Mathematics, and 5th in Science among 65 countries. South Korea is also no longer at the top of academic achievement in 2010, but its youth scored 2nd in Reading, 4th in Mathematics, and 6th in Science. Maths and Science scores for S. Korea are not as high on the international lists of top achieving countries as they were in the mid- to late 1980s.
China, at least specific regions, is advancing beyond all other countries. However, high achievers among all youth tested are predemoninantly located around the Pacific Rim, with a few in Europe and a a cohort in Canada. Canada is the only country in the Western Hemisphere to reach the Top 10 List. (see maps below).
The reference link just below this paragraph provides a full report of the statistics among the 65 countries that took part in these achievement tests. The United States youth scored average or below average in most of the categories of achievement.
OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA)
Are students well prepared for future challenges? Can they analyse, reason and communicate effectively? Do they have the capacity to continue learning throughout life? The OECD Programme for International ...
Smartest Kids In the World
Top 10 Countries in Reading
Overall Reading scores place as follows:
- S. Korea
- Hong Kong-China
- New Zealand
The United States was #17 for 2009 (reported in 2010) and dropped to #20 in 2012.
Notice that most of these Top 10 Nations in Reading are located around the Pacific Rim. It would be an interesting study to find out why that is so.
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Top 10 Countries in Mathematics
- Hong Kong-China
- S. Korea
- Chinese Taipei
The United States was in the lower 50% of countries in 2009. By 2012, 29 out of 65 nations scored higher than the USA, so we improved a little.
Top 10 Countries in Science
- Hong Kong-China
- S. Korea
- New Zealand
- Norway, Estonia - Tied
The United States is #22 for 2009 and #23 in 2012.
The map below allows only 10 markers, but Australia is in the #10 slot; Norway and Estonia being tied for #9.
America Moving Forward
In the late 1980s, through research at The Ohio State University, the Industrial Commission of Ohio, and using documentaries of research visits to China, it was possible to learn about the educational system of China.
Many Chinese schools do or did not employ cleaning staff, the children and youth attending school from 8AM - 5PM and half a day on Saturdays, 12 months a year, except for holidays. This included the cleaning of the facilities and grounds as well as exercise, sports, the arts, and play time. Before school years, new mothers took their infants with them to their work places, where certified nurses cared for the babies, administered passive exercises to them, and taught dance and other movement arts as the children took their first steps. Reading, writing, and speaking occurred early on in these centers as well. These work place centers took the place of day care centers and pre-schools.
Once in high school, or before, students returned home at 5PM, ate dinner, then attended either an evening school 5 nights per week or structured tutoring with their parents for several hours. At some point during night school, I think this likely reaches the point of overtraining, where additional hours do not benefit the student.
In America, we have learned that such early learning experiences as those mentioned above, when instituted at ages 3 and 4 (PreK3 and PreK4, sometimes called K3 and K4), increase reading skills at ages 5 and 6. Repeatedly since the early 1980s, Harvard University and The Kennedy Center for the Arts (as well as other insitutions) have shown conclusively that arts, music, dance, and sports increase the brain's capacity for learning, understanding and applying the skills of reading, writing, speaking, maths, and sciences. The body of research is commonly accepted, being ongoing and 30 years old in 2010. Consistent instruction and exposure to these subjects in American pre-schoolers, along with parental involvement K-12 and hands-on project based learning can be key to raising the skills of American youth. These skills can create jobs and new products and services as well as to create a population with greater problem-solving and analytical skills.
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