EDUCATION -- October 9, 2013 at 10:27 AM ET
American adults rank poorly in math and reading compared to other developed countries
American students aren't the only ones being left behind in education. Compared to other developed countries, the U.S ranks lower than the average in terms of adult literacy and close to the bottom when it comes to math, according to a study released Tuesday by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
Japan, Finland and the Netherlands had the three highest average scores for reading, while France, Spain and Italy had the lowest. Americans were among the bottom three when it came to math, just ahead of Italy and Spain. On the other end of the spectrum, Japan, Finland and Flanders (the northern, dutch-speaking region of Belgium) scored the highest overall math averages. You can explore the OECD data and compare countries in the interactive portion of the report.
The Survey of Adult Skills measured indicators to guage what and with what proficiency various skills are used in the workplace. The OECD says that boosting these skills are essential for tackling joblessness and improving well-being, and the report showed that many developed nations need to increase their skills. In Italy and Spain, for example, more than a quarter of adults perform at or below the most basic reading levels.
"Too many people are being left behind today," OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría said in a statement. "With effective education and lifelong learning everyone can develop their full potential. The benefits are clear, not only for individuals, but also for societies and for the economy."
The study surveyed more than 160,000 adults between ages 16 and 65 in 24 developed nations..