To see which countries produce the most competitive workers for a global economy, it helps to consider what percentage of their private and public school teenagers score highly on standardized math tests. A new study published in Education Next and shared in advance with the Atlantic lets us compare kids in 57 countries to 50 states and 10 big-city school districts. Prepare to be surprised.


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All numbers are in percentage points. Standard errors in parentheses.
* Due to technical limitations in the cross-country data set, the comparisons for science and reading are less reliable than those for math. Overall, the U.S. trails many other developed countries in these subjects, although less dramatically than in math.

Chart: The world--and the United States--are wildly uneven when it comes to the ratio of top-scoring math students. A total of 26 countries separate the top-ranking state, Massachusetts, and the last, Mississippi

Graphic by Gavin Potenza and Liz Meyer

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