The results of new testing are, unfortunately, more of the same: US kids remain behind a host of other countries in math and science, specifically those in East Asia. American fourth-graders rank 11th in math and 7th in science, while eighth-graders are 9th in math and 10th in science. Leading the way in math and fourth-grade science are South Korea and Singapore; Singapore and Taiwan are tops in eighth-grade science, according to tests developed by Boston College in tandem with participating countries.
US students' average scores weren't much lower than those of leading nations, but the percentage of American students who managed top scores was far lower than those in other countries, the New York Times reports. For example, just 7% of US eighth-graders scored at the advanced level in math, compared to 48% of Singapore eighth-graders. We fared a bit better when it came to reading, with US fourth-graders ranking sixth. More than 50 countries or education systems—Hong Kong has its own, for instance—took the tests. "Clearly, we have some room to improve," says an education official. (Read more mathematics stories.)