Eye on Education

Ohio’s Top Students Not as Good at Math, Science as Kids in Korea, Singapore, China, Japan, Etc.

pencil and erasers

Amanda Woodward / Flickr

Ohio eighth-graders scored better than average on an international test in math and science.

But few Ohio eighth-graders are capable of the highest levels of math and science reasoning compared to students in countries including Korea, Singapore, China and Japan, according to a federal study released today.

Here’s how eighth-graders in Ohio and neighboring states compare to their peers internationally:

NAEP TIMMS Math Comparison final

Molly Bloom / StateImpact Ohio

Source: National Center for Educational Statistics. Additional information and data on other states can be found here.

What it means to perform at an “advanced” level
Students can reason with information, draw conclusions, make generalizations, and solve linear equations.

Students can solve a variety of fraction, proportion, and percent problems and justify their conclusions. Students can express generalizations algebraically and model situations. They can solve a variety of problems involving equations, formulas, and functions. Students can reason with geometric figures to solve problems. Students can reason with data from several sources or unfamiliar representations to solve multi-step problems.

SOURCE: National Center for Educational Statistics

It’s a good news/bad news scenario, Jack Buckley, head of the research arm of the U.S. Department of Education, told the Associated Press.

“All of our high-performing states are being outperformed significantly by these other countries,” he said.

The federal study uses scores from the National Assessment of Education Progress, a standardized test that students in nationwide take, to predict student performance on an international test that most students did not take–the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study.

The Brookings Institution’s Tom Loveless, a scholar who studies things like whether American kids are smarter than kids in other countries, tells Education week the study “reinforces things we already knew:”

“We have states that do very well and score among the top countries in the world. And we also have states that score very poorly, alongside countries like Romania and Armenia,” he said.

At the same time, the study allows American policymakers and educators to see how the range of their own states’ variation compares to that of countries around the world, he said.

“It allows us to place state variation in international context,” Mr. Loveless said. “For those people who think education is becoming more and more a global currency, knowing where we stand internationally is important.”


  • LH

    Kids in China go to school 6 days a week from 7 am to 4 pm. They have a one month summer vacation. Their after school time is spent with tutors. If the State of Ohio and/or the United States expect to “catch up” to Chinese standards, the Common Core is not going to do the trick. I feel very comfortable with the placement of both Ohio and the US on this list. Why do we feel the need to compete with these Asian countries? If we feel the need to educate our children in the same manner to “catch up” what will happen to our precious American sports? Who will have time for football or basketball practice – not our kids! What about our creative writers and future novelists? Don’t worry, no one has time to read for pleasure anyway. Don’t forget about the artists and musicians – oh wait – go ahead and forget because art and music are nonessential. So, let’s close all the art museums and say good bye to the symphony then maybe our kids can “catch up” with China – because being 10th & 14th on a list of 46 definitely makes us sub-par.

  • http://www.insworld.edu.sg/ john smith

    singapore student is best knowledge math and science..

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