Putting Education Reform To The Test

Florida Students Struggle On International Exam

The PISA exam is given to 15-year-olds once every three years.

screenshot / OECD

The PISA exam is given to 15-year-olds once every three years.

The latest U.S. results on an international math, science and reading test are ‘sobering,’ experts said, and show the average U.S. student continues to lose ground against those around the globe.

Overall, the U.S. finished 17th in reading, 21st in science and 26th in math. That’s largely because U.S. scores were flat while other countries raised their scores.

Locally, the results on the Program for International Student Assessment show the average Florida student scored about the same as the average U.S. student in science and reading. However, Florida average math scores trailed the U.S. average.

And in all three subjects, Florida had a lower percentage of top-scoring students than Massachusetts and Connecticut and had a higher percentage of low-performing students than those states.

Marc Tucker, president of the National Center on Education and the Economy, told NPR the results show the U.S. needs to make some big changes to its education system. Improving countries, such as Vietnam, are not as tradition-bound as the U.S.

“The current education reform agenda in the United States has not worked,” Tucker said.

Listen to the story by Claudio Sanchez below. You can dig through the PISA data here.

The Fort Myers News-Press notes that 84 students at two Lee County high schools participated in the test.

Lee County Superintendent Nancy Graham told the paper not to draw too many conclusions from the test results. Other countries do not believe in educating every child, she said.

“There’s an element that wants people to believe public education is failing,” Graham said. “Those are the people that latch onto PISA and say ‘the sky is falling.’ ”


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