Photo by Bettmann/Corbis
At home, the story is the same — but abroad, the landscape is shifting.
According to the latest results of a comprehensive set of international exams released Tuesday, America’s teens have remained mid-pack among their peers worldwide and utterly stagnant in reading, math and science over the last 10 years.
But as America’s 15-year-olds failed to improve on the Programme for International Student Assessment and East Asian countries maintained their top slots, other countries not generally known for their academic prowess — many of whom have diverse and poor populations — have become breakout stars of a sort. Poland, Germany and Ireland showed tremendous growth, and Vietnam, which administered the exam for the first time in 2012, wound up among the top-performing countries, eclipsing the U.S. in math and science. Results like these herald Sputnik era-type fears, leading some officials to believe the U.S. is losing its competitive edge.
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