Good News, Kids! American Adults Are Idiots Too.

Every year someone does a survey of high school students and produces an alarming headline. Eighty percent of kids can’t find France on a map! Two-thirds of seniors don’t know what the First Amendment says!

My immediate reaction is: yeah, but I bet adults are idiots too. It’s just that no one studies them.

But they do! I just learned serendipitously that the OECD periodically conducts an international test of adult literacy and numeracy. It’s called PIAAC, and this is the first I’ve heard of it. I have a feeling I’m going to have some fun with this once I figure out how their data tool works, but for now I’m going to toss out the basic data for you to mull over. Here it is:

I’m only going to comment on one thing right now: the US scores dead last on “problem solving in technology-rich environments,” and yet the US is easily the world leader in creating technology-rich environments. Something doesn’t add up.


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