Americans are lucky enough to have access to many of the best universities in the world. Still, compared to many of their peers, American students tend to struggle in certain subjects. America tends to be in the middle of the pack in science, math, and reading on standardized test scores.
But which subject gives us the most difficult time? Every country across the globe has its struggles academically, but here in the US, we have a particular subject that keeps us scratching our heads. Let’s see what subject this is and what can be done to improve it.
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Where Does the US Stack Up Well?
There is an international standardized test that is often used to measure the knowledge and achievement of 15-year-old students around the globe. It’s called the Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA for short.
The PISA tests students in Mathematics, Science, and Reading. The United States measures in the top 20 in Science (19th) and Reading (13th). Currently, 79 countries participate in the assessment, which means that the US ranks in the top 25% for these subjects.
These scores are the highest that American students have ever scored in these subjects, marking a significant improvement over previous years.
What Subject do Americans Struggle With?
As you could probably tell above, there is one subject in which the US did not finish in the top 20. That subject is math.
In fact, in the 2018 PISA, the United States ranked 38th, barely placing us in the top 50% of participating countries. Although this represents a slight increase over the previous PISA, where the US ranked 40th, it’s the lowest we have ranked compared to all prior years.
These results are not exactly out of the ordinary, as the United States has never ranked anywhere near the top 20 when it comes to mathematics. However, there is another international assessment for mathematics where the United States does much better.
It is known as the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study or TIMSS. In the 2015 study, eight grade students in the United States ranked 10th. While still lagging behind many other developed countries such as Canada, Ireland, and South Korea, this represents a much more favorable result.
What Can Be Done to Improve?
Although studying is the best way to get better at a subject, certain educators believe that many US schools teach math in a manner that makes students struggle. Many believe that the US system focuses too much on memorizing formulas and not enough on creative problem-solving.
Jo Boeler, a professor at Stanford, believes that changing the typical structure of Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2 is key to improving American students’ math abilities. She proposes creating three years of integrated math, using algebra, geometry, statistics, and data components to foster a holistic view of the subject.
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Work With a Jantzi Test Prep Tutor
If you’d like professional assistance studying for your exams, work with a certified tutor from Jantzi Test Prep. Schedule a tutoring session today!