U.S. Problem-Solving Tests Below International Average

Adults in the United States ranked below the international average in recent tests of literacy, numeracy and technological problem-solving, a government report released last month said.

The biggest differences between the U.S. and other countries were found in low performers, with the nation having a greater percentage of these low performers than the international average in all three subject areas.

On Oct. 18, the National Center for Education Statistics released the results of the 2012 Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies. The program is an international assessment developed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development. The first round of testing was performed in 2011-12 in 23 OECD and partner countries. About 150,000 adults, or more than 5,000 per country, were surveyed.

In problem-solving in technology-rich environments, the U.S. average score was lower than the average scores in 14 other countries and the international average. The U.S. score was comparable to the average scores in four countries: England and Northern Ireland-United Kingdom, Estonia, Ireland and Poland.