United States is renowned for big investments in education. But the return on investment is not as good as expected, when compared to the other nations across the world. Ranking Education systems is complicated. We owe it to the fact that there is no international standard to distinguish a good education with bad one. However, we can compare them on some grounds.
Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA, is the golden standard for global tests. The exam assesses reading, math, and science of the students. 15 year olds of 72 countries are sampled I the exam. The last exam took place in 2015, in which the United States scored just above the OECD average in reading and science while stood below average in math. The top countries belonged to Eastern Asia and Europe.
However there are a few important things to keep in my mind. First thing, the test was not done to rank countries. The ranks are just secondary outcomes.
Next thing is that what these scores signify? There is ambiguity about what these test scores tell about our educational performance.
For instance, research fails to show a strong connection between test scores and completion of high school, or even college. Maybe the reason why United States does not fare as well is because of the culture that does not focus much on testing in comparison to the rest.
The cultures are different, Americans think that in other countries children spend too much time in school and do not do after-school jobs and sports. While other countries think Americans don’t spend as much time on Academic work.
In other terms, it is safe to conclude that those countries that scored best on the test culturally emphasize more on testing. Higher marks mean great job in East Asian countries. And in European countries entrance to school is based on tests in contrast to college in US.
Another reason is that there are many lower strata students that perform poorly. That is more of a problem in social system than education system.
Moreover, all the states have different educational policies and make it complicated to assess the country as a whole. There is a lack of a central education system. No other country in the world gives this much control to its state. For 50 states, there are 50 education systems.
While many experts may suggest that there is a lot room for U.S. education system to improve, U.S. is not doing poorly in terms of educational success.
Look at the measures of entrepreneurial activity after completing high school and college, American educated workforce is doing nearly best in it. When compared in terms of entrepreneurship, productivity, Americans are not bad. So if you believe that outcome of education should be related to the employ ability of the work force and creativity in problem solving, then American kids are doing more than just good.