Tucker said Shanghai has worked hard to bring migrant children into its schools and has put an emphasis on improving teacher quality — a factor helping to drive its test scores.
In the education community, Finland has drawn notice for its past test performance, but this year its average PISA score dropped in all three subjects, most pronounced in math. Finland’s students did better on average than those from the United States.
Overall, National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel said among the Asian nations dominating the test, “The one thing they all have in common is that they make a real commitment to education for all kids, and nothing deters them from that vision, and then they do what’s necessary to make that happen. In the United States, we don’t have the commitment for all kids and it needs to change.”
One indicator of performance is how many students hit a high benchmark on each subject tested. In the United States, 9 percent of test-takers hit that mark in math, 7 percent did so in science and 8 percent did in reading. Fewer U.S. test-takers hit that mark in math than the international average. However, they performed at about the international average in the other two subjects.
The test is based on a 1,000-point scale. Among the findings:
— In math, the U.S. average score was 481. Average scores ranged from 368 in Peru to 613 in Shanghai. The international average was 494.
— In science, the U.S. average score was 497. Average scores ranged from 373 in Peru to 580 in Shanghai. The international average was 501.
— In reading, the U.S. average score was 498. Average scores ranged from 384 in Peru to 570 in Shanghai. The international average was 496.
Students from all states were tested. But for the first time, three states, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Florida, opted to increase participation in PISA to get more state specific results.
Average scores from Massachusetts were above the international average in all three subject areas. Connecticut’s scored on average around the international average in math and higher than the international average in science and reading. Florida students on average scored below the international average in math and science and around the international average in reading.
Associated Press writers Greg Katz and Sylvia Hui in London contributed to this report.