America Is Raising A Generation Of Young People Who Can't Do Math

Business Insider

In a new study of adults' core skills in 23 mostly developed countries, the U.S. had a particularly unimpressive showing, scoring well below average in literacy, math, and tech skills. As bad as the overall scores were, young adults in America did even worse. 

When you restrict scores to 16 to 24 year olds, the U.S. ranks 18th out of 23 countries for literacy and is dead last for math skills and the ability to use technology to solve problems.

Young people in the U.S., on average, score 29 points below young people across all countries in math and 40 points below top-scoring countries like Japan and Finland. America's young people are 10 points behind Italy, the second-lowest scoring country:

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Math skills

OECD

Generally, math scores tend to be at their highest between ages 25 and 34. The U.S. has the second-lowest score in that age group, behind only Spain. Scores hold up a bit better later, but the tiny difference between the youngest and oldest age groups suggest that education in the U.S. hasn't been getting any better. It might be getting worse:

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OECD

OECD

 

This is especially worrisome because the U.S. cites math skills as more important on the job than any other country except for Canada. And despite the degree to which young people seem attached to the Internet and smartphones, America  has the highest proportion of young adults with bottom-tier scores for tech skills.

This is the first time this assessment's been done, but the trend looks to be getting worse for the U.S., not better. 

Read the full report here.



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