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Singapore Students Are Three Years Ahead of American Peers in Math, PISA Results Suggest

Singapore Students Are Three Years Ahead of American Peers in Math, PISA Results Suggest

Another series of international assessment results released, another indication that Singapore has math education figured out.

Last week, the results of the international assessment Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) were released, revealing that Singapore’s students consistently outperform their international peers in both the math basics and overwhelmingly in advanced math.

This week, the results of the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) have been released to reveal a very similar trend. 

Like TIMSS, PISA is an international assessment that compares student achievement in developed countries.

According to The Economist, 540,000 students in 72 countries or regions participated in the assessments.

Also according to The Economist:

"The average [student’s] maths score of 564 suggests Singaporean teens are roughly three years ahead of their American peers, with a score of 470."

But not only did Singapore students top their international peers in math; they also outperformed their peers in both reading and science, as well, suggesting Singapore overall has a superior, well-rounded education system.

Last week, Education World took a look at why exactly Singapore students are such high achievers. A system based on foundational learning, growth mindset and visual learning are just a few reasons why Singapore students are able to consistently achieve stellar test scores year after year. 

United States’ students, on the other hand, have a tendency to perform poorly. According to the PISA results, U.S. students did not make the top 10 in either category of math, reading or science—though neighbor Canada's students managed to place in all three.

However, when looking at separate data from specific U.S. states, the results indicate that not all U.S. students are being inadequately prepared in math, science and reading proficiency.

"The OECD examined the results of Massachusetts separately, and it fared well: in science, the small east-coast state scored 529, on par with some of the world’s top students in the subject, and far above both the OECD and US averages," said Quartz.

"Its kids scored well in reading too; and even in math—which is perpetually weak in the US—they scored, 500, above the OECD average of 490."

Quartz says this means that the U.S. need not panic:

"The US system is enormous and caters to far more kids living in poverty; overall it fares poorly, though some states—like Massachusetts—are all-star performers like Singapore."

Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor


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