Tuesday, December 6, 2016
Performance of U.S. 15-Year-Old Students in Science, Reading, and Mathematics Literacy: First Look at PISA 2015
Today, the National Center for Education Statistics released results from the 2015 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA). PISA is a triennial international assessment of 15-year-old students that measures science, reading, and mathematics literacy.
The latest results of PISA show that average science and reading scores for U.S. 15-year-olds in 2015 were not measurably different from any of the previous comparison years, while mathematics literacy scores declined. Results also show average science and reading scores are not measurably different from the OECD average, while the mathematics average score was below the OECD average.
Additionally, Massachusetts, North Carolina, and Puerto Rico participated in the 2015 assessment as international benchmarking systems and received separate scores from the U.S. Massachusetts’s average scores were higher than the U.S. and OECD average scores in all three subjects; North Carolina’s average scores were not measurably different from the U.S. average scores for all three subjects; and Puerto Rico’s average scores were lower than both the average U.S. scores and the OECD average scores for all three subjects.
In 2015, 70 education systems participated in the assessment. PISA is coordinated by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and conducted in the United States by NCES.
Other key findings from the report:
• Average scores in science literacy ranged from 556 in Singapore to 332 in the Dominican Republic. The U.S. average score was 496. This was not different from the OECD average of 493.
• The U.S. average was lower than the average in 18 education systems, was higher than 39 education systems, and was not measurably different from 12 education systems. It was not measurably different than scores from earlier assessments (2006, 2009, and 2012)
• The U.S. average was lower than Massachusetts (529), not measurably different from North Carolina (502), and higher than Puerto Rico (403).
• Percentages of top-performing 15-year-old students (those scoring at PISA proficiency levels 5 and above) in science literacy ranged from 24 percent in Singapore to rounding to 0 in 10 education systems. In the United States, 9 percent of 15-year-old students scored at proficiency levels 5 and above, which was not measurably different than the OECD average of 8 percent.
• The U.S. percentage of top performers in science literacy was lower than 14 education systems, not measurably different from 15 education systems, and higher than 34 education systems.
• The overall U.S. percentage of top performers was lower than in Massachusetts (14 percent), and not measurably different than in North Carolina (9 percent).
• In the United States, 20 percent of U.S. 15-year-old students scored below level 2, which is considered below the baseline of proficiency by the OECD; this was not measurably different from the OECD average of 21 percent.
• The U.S. percentage of low performers was higher than 21 education systems, lower than 37 education systems, and not measurably different from 11 education systems. The percentage of 15-year-old students performing below PISA proficiency level 2 ranged from 6 percent in Vietnam to 86 percent in the Dominican Republic.
• The percentage of low performers in science in the United States overall (20 percent) was higher than Massachusetts (12 percent), not measurably different from North Carolina (18 percent);