A new global report (pdf) by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development finds that Americans rank well below the worldwide average in just about every measure of skill. In math, reading, and technology-driven problem-solving, the United States performed worse than nearly every other country in the group of developed nations.
When it comes to math, American adults aren’t any better. In fact, they’re far worse.
Fewer than 34 percent of adults in the U.S. managed to score at a Level 3 (out of 5) or higher, while comparable numbers for countries like Japan, Finland, Sweden and the Netherlands were all well above 50 percent (p. 80). The US also has the second largest proportion of adults—9.1 percent—who scored below a Level 1, the most basic level of literacy (p. 81).
…and even computers
Americans are pretty behind when it comes to computer literacy, too. US adults scored toward the bottom in problem solving in a technology-rich environment, which the report describes as the intersection of “computer literacy” and “cognitive skills required to solve problems” (p. 88).
The U.S. scored on par with Estonia, Ireland and Poland, and had more adults with proficiencies below Level 1—15.8 percent—than another other participating country (p. 89).
While older American adults (aged 55-65) scored better than any other country, young adults did just the opposite: They were the most computer-challenged of the 20 participating countries (p. 110).
This post originally appeared on Quartz, an Atlantic sister site.
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