How do American students compare with students from other countries?

How do American students compare with students from other countries?

The World has become one nation these days because of globalisation and open source platforms. Growth is something which every nation is worried off, and the most talked about topic of all times. The education system is a strong pillar of any nation's growth, which determines a country's future to a great extent. Educated and skilled youth and workforce can change the destiny of any nation. To keep a constant check on their future leaders or businesspeople, every country keeps an eye on how the education system is working. Comparing the policies and growth with other nations helps in evaluating where a nation is lagging behind and areas to work on.

If we talked about The United States of America, the most popular and spoke of the nation in the world because of its growing economy, culture and being a land of opportunities. Comparing an American student with any other student from another part of the worlds would not be possible before analysing the various factors which influence the performance of an individual.

Recently, there was a comparison among 57 countries of academic performance of their students. Finland stood first on overall performance doing their best in science and maths respectively. Countries which also did well were Hong-Kong, Canada, Japan.

According to statistical data and the administration of PISA-The program for international student assessment over the years by OECD (Organization for Economic cooperation and development). The performance of  15-year-old students in 34 different countries and three states of the U.S.A (which participated as individual systems) was measured in science, reading literacy and mathematics. And the results were obtained as follows:-


U.S score of science literacy was average (497) which was not much deviating from an average score (501) of all OECD countries. There were 24 education systems, including 2 U.S states which had higher average science scores. The two U.S states which had higher scores were Massachusetts and Connecticut. Rest 13 countries and 1 U.S state had almost same science averages.


In reading literacy as well, the performance of U.S.A was average (498), while OECD average was 496.The number of states having higher average reading scores was 21 including two U.S states. Few of them were Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Finland. Massachusetts (527) and Connecticut (521) both scored higher average in reading literacy than U.S average scores.


In mathematics literacy, U.S performed below average. The average math score for U.S was (481) which was the lowest of all the participating countries (494). Twenty-nine countries performed better than U.S in math literacy, including 2 U.S states. Again the leading countries were Singapore, Shanghai, and Hong Kong.

U.S Performance

U.S students performed ordinarily. There were 24 and  29 countries which performed better than the nation in science and maths respectively. Experts analysed that performance has not changed in comparison to test performances which were done in last years coordinated by PISA -The program for international student Assessment. On the contrary, countries like Poland and Estonia showed improvement. Also, there was a huge difference between high and low performing students of America. In all the three spheres American students performed either average or below average in comparison to other countries such as Hong Kong, Singapore. And the students of these countries have given a consistent performance in all three literacy tests. The average scores of Massachusetts and Connecticut in comparison to U.S as a country shows the discrepancy and difference adopted in education systems.

Comparison With other Countries

Educational practices of other countries might be helpful in improving curriculum, but it cannot be implemented as there are social-economic differences in every country. For an e.g. population in U.S is diverse. It has a large number of minority groups, those who do not perform well, which in turn reduces overall average scores.

 Global Ranking

America Stands first when it comes to global competitiveness. It has constant threats to its position from countries like India. But, It is strong enough to provide adequate and equal primary and secondary education.

There are certain factors which are influencing the American student's performance directly or indirectly. Performance can be made better if few factors are looked upon such as:-

  • Social, economic status has an impact on overall average performances in the United States.
  • The environment of the school also affects the performance, which includes teacher-student relationship, assessment policies, punctuality, and attendance.
  • U.S can spend more on education. As compared to other countries its average per-student expenditure is higher.
  • According to a study people (roughly to the age group of parents) are more educated (tertiary education) in comparison to other countries.
  • According to test results, students have done average in science and reading, but mathematics is where they are lagging behind other countries.

Science and technology play a vital role in economic growth. It is very important for every nation that their workforce or youth is skilled and educated enough. So that, they can compete with other countries, can help in building a prosperous nation and ensures its smooth functioning.

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