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THE KIDS THESE DAYS....PART 476....Here's the latest international report card on how American kids are doing in science and math. Short answer: not badly, really. According to the latest TIMSS report, eighth grade Asian kids outscore everyone, and American kids outscore nearly everyone who's not Asian (only Hungary, England, and Russia do slightly better). The story in science is about the same. TIMSS doesn't conduct their tests in every country, but among the countries that do worse than the U.S. are Australia, Sweden, Italy, Norway, and Israel.
Full results here. They're pretty much the same as in years past, by the way. It would obviously be nice if American kids were doing even better, but the evidence hardly suggests that the United States is some kind of educational hellhole. In science and math, anyway, we're better than most and roughly average among our first world peers.
UPDATE: Sorry, I guess the charts are a little hard to decipher. Basically, they show what percentage of kids scored at or above various levels on the TIMSS test. For example, 92% of American eighth graders scored above the cutoff point for low performance on the math test and 67% scored above the intermediate level, compared to an international average of only 75% and 46% respectively. Basically, at every single level, more American kids scored above the cutoff point than the international average.
However, keep in mind that these international averages include lots and lots of very poor countries. If you look only at other rich countries, the United States is right around average.