That said, in some cases, the US stacked up fairly well against other countries and educational systems, particularly on PIRLS, where the US average score of 556 was significantly higher than the international average, set at 500.
The US scored lower in the reading study than did five educational systems (Hong Kong, the state of Florida, the Russian Federation, Finland, and Singapore), was statistically equal to seven others, and was higher than 40.
More striking (particularly given that in US measurements, reading scores have been harder to improve than math scores), the US average improved an impressive 16 points from the last time the test was given in 2006. And in terms of the percentages of students scoring at or above the most “advanced” reading benchmark score, only two systems – Singapore and Florida – were ahead of the United States.
In the TIMSS math and science scores, the results for the US were more mixed. The US average score increased by a measurable amount in fourth-grade math, but remained statistically unchanged in fourth-grade science and eighth-grade math and science.
The US average was higher than the international average in all subjects, but, as with the domestic report card scores, students’ performance seemed to fall with older students.