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Home » Press Releases » International Test Results Confirm Need for Education Revolution in U.S.

International Test Results Confirm Need for Education Revolution in U.S.

American teenagers being surpassed by other nations’ students in math, science, and reading

WASHINGTON — The Center for Education Reform (CER) issued the following statement today in response to the results of the most recent Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) exams revealing that U.S. scores are generally unchanged since 2000 and are significantly behind those of China and elsewhere.

“These PISA results are further proof of the spectacular failures of our current education system,” said CER founder and CEO Jeanne Allen. “Despite more and more government spending on the status quo over the last two decades, our students are showing no real improvements in critical subjects. Worse, their peers in places like China, our nation’s fiercest economic competitor, are only excelling faster and farther.”

The PISA exams evaluate a representative sample of approximately 600,000 15-year-old students in 79 countries and education systems. The latest scores are from PISA’s 2018 test, which focused on “the core school subjects of reading, mathematics and science.” Compared to the 64 countries that administered the test in both 2015 and 2018, the United States ranks 30th in math, 8th in reading, and 11th in science. While U.S. rankings have slightly improved, actual test scores by American students have remained flat.

According to U.S. News & World Report, “The results largely mirror the top-line findings in the most recent results from the National Assessment of Education Progress, also known as NAEP or the Nation's Report Card, which last month showed math and reading scores dropping for fourth- and eighth-grade students in the U.S.” CER’s official response to the shocking NAEP report can be read here.

CER’s Allen added: “Just as troubling as seeing our students fall behind their Chinese counterparts is seeing how, among the American participants, students with socioeconomic disadvantages are badly struggling to keep up. This tragic trend must be reversed, but the only way to create lasting change is with bold solutions that break down existing barriers to universal opportunity. Through our innovative proposals, we at CER are fully committed to fostering a nationwide education revolution to ensure that every American student can realize academic excellence regardless of their background, financial status, or zip code. America’s future global leadership literally depends on it.”

A snapshot of overall worldwide student performance can be viewed here. A detailed assessment of the United States’ results can be viewed here.


Founded in 1993, the Center for Education Reform aims to expand educational opportunities that lead to improved economic outcomes for all Americans — particularly our youth — ensuring that conditions are ripe for innovation, freedom and flexibility throughout U.S. education.