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Report: In math, we're lame



dunce.The United States is producing a smaller percentage of top math students than most industrialized countries, and it's not because we have more struggling minority kids, according to a new report sponsored by Education Next magazine and Harvard’s Program on Educational Policy and Governance.

Only 6 percent of the American class of 2009 scored at the advanced level in math on standardized tests, compared to 28 percent of those in Taiwan, the report found. The percentage puts the United States behind Hong Kong, Korea, Finland, Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Liechtenstein, New Zealand, the Czech Republic, Japan, Canada, Macao-China, Australia, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Denmark, Iceland, France, Estonia, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the Slovak Republic, Luxembourg, Hungary, Poland, Norway, Ireland and Lithuania.

Hey, but we’re ahead of Portugal, Greece, Turkey and Mexico!

“In short, the percentages of high-achieving students in the United States – and in most of its individual states – are shockingly below those of many of the world’s leading industrialized nations,” the report said. “Results for many states are at a level equal to those of third-world countries.”

Don’t blame minorities or “uneducated” parents either, the report continues. Only 8 percent of white students in the U.S. scored at the advanced level, while only 10 percent of those with at least one parent with a college degree did. That still puts the U.S. behind most industrialized countries.

“This is not a story of some states doing well but being dragged down by states that perform poorly,” the report said. “Nor is it a story of immigrant or disadvantaged or minority students hiding the strong performance of better-prepared students.”

At the Flypaper blog, Mike Petrilli looks at the big raw numbers behind the itty bitty percentages - and finds things ain't so bad. At the Bridge to Tomorrow blog, FSU physics professor Paul Cottle offers some ideas on how things can be turned around in Florida.

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[Last modified: Wednesday, November 10, 2010 6:06pm]


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