For years, American high school students have suffered the indignity of headlines decrying their mediocre performance in math and science compared to that of students in other developed nations.
Now it’s their parents’ turn to be embarrassed. American adults have nothing to brag about when it comes to math, reading and problem-solving skills compared with their international counterparts. According to a comprehensive skills exam known as the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies, U.S. performance lagged behind other countries in these key subjects.
Americans had an average score of 270 in literacy, which fell between a low of 250 in Italy and a high of 296 in Japan. On math, Americans scored an average of 253, between 246 in Spain and 288 in Japan.
The data came from tests given to 166,000 people ages 16 to 65 in more than 20 countries.
If the results say anything, it’s that Americans, young and old, have their work cut out for them in terms of improving their fitness for the global economy. Too bad in this case that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.