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Americans Read and Math Bad

New study shows US adults are lagging in crucial skills
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 8, 2013 9:00 AM CDT
Americans Read and Math Bad
HOLD FOR RELEASE 5 A.M. EDT TUESDAY, OCT. 8; Graphic shows how countries scored in international adult literacy test; 3c x 3 inches; 146 mm x 76 mm;   (Associated Press)

(Newser) – You've probably heard that test scores are lagging badly for America's youth, but it turns out they're just chips off the old blocks. A sweeping new study has found that American adults are below-average when it comes to literacy, basic math skills, and "problem-solving in technology-rich environments," the New York Times reports. The study tested 166,000 people aged 16-65 in 23 countries. The US ranked in the middle of the pack on literacy and problem solving, and third from the bottom in math.

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The US' scores also show a massive gulf between its high and low scorers, and point toward a lack of upward mobility, the AP observes. People with college-educated parents, for example, outperformed people with less educated parents to a greater degree than in other countries. Japan and Finland took top marks in all three categories, while economically beleaguered Italy and Spain brought up the rear in literacy and math. College educated Italians and Spaniards scored lower than Japan's high school graduates. (Read more test score stories.)

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