The report draws a link between PISA scores of 10th-graders from 2009 and eighth-grade US math proficiency scores on the 2007 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), so both samples were drawn from students of the high school graduating class of 2011, in both public and private schools.
Thirty-two percent of students scored “proficient” on NAEP in math. Researchers found the equivalent of what those students would score on the PISA scale and then looked at how many students in other countries performed at or above that level.
In the top-scoring places, such as Shanghai, Korea, and Finland, well over 50 percent of students were proficient in math. The proficiency rate in Massachusetts on PISA was 51 percent. One of the largest states, California, had a rate of just 24 percent and was outranked by 36 countries.