Schooled. New data show that teenagers in Asia, such as these students in Japan, continue to lead the world on a test that asks them to apply reading, mathematics, and science knowledge to practical problems.

Wikimedia/Shintaro ozawa

Schooled. New data show that teenagers in Asia, such as these students in Japan, continue to lead the world on a test that asks them to apply reading, mathematics, and science knowledge to practical problems.

Asia Remains on Top in Test of Student Knowledge

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Shanghai students have widened their lead in the latest global comparison of the educational skills of 15-year-olds. Asian city-states dominate the rankings, released today, while U.S. students continue to lag behind their counterparts in the industrial world.

Every 3 years, the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) measures how well students can apply what they’ve learned in reading, mathematics, and science to practical problems. And the 2012 results are similar to 2009 and earlier versions. Of 65 participants, which include both countries and smaller geographic units such as provinces and states, Shanghai once again leads the way in all three subjects, while Singapore and Hong Kong hold down the next two spots in math and science. (China did not participate as a country, and PISA allowed several U.S. states to compare their students to the rest of the world.) Two other traditional powerhouses, Korea and Japan, are the only large nations who made it into the top 10, and both countries made significant progress in science. (Click here to see a summary table of results.)

The United States ranks 26th in math and 21st in science out of the 34 countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which conducts the assessment. In addition to compiling head-to-head rankings, OECD collects data on educational policies and practices around the world, with topics ranging from how countries educate their poorest students to parental attitudes toward the importance of an education.

These results were embargoed, so outside groups have not had a chance to review and comment on them. But you can click on ScienceInsider’s comment box below to say what you think they mean.

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