The OECD conducts an assessment every three years of education systems worldwide by testing the skills and knowledge of 15 year old students in science, reading and mathematics (plus collaborative problem solving and financial literacy). Named PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment), the test is conducted in 79 countries, with 600,000 students put under the spotlight of a two-hour test.
Our infographic combines the average scores for each country in the three core test areas to show which performed to the highest overall level. With a mean score of 1,736, China tops the list ahead of Singapore and Estonia in second and third respectively. The U.S. only makes it into 22nd place with a total average score of 1,485. The average for all of the OECD countries tested was 1,465.
China's apparent dominance of this measure of student attainment should however be taken with a pinch of salt. Unlike the other countries tested, the superpower's scores are based on pupils in Beijing as well as Shanghai and its two neighboring provinces - Jiangsu and Zhejiang - home to just 183 million of China's 1.4 billion inhabitants. The report does note however, that the level of income of these Chinese regions is well below the OECD average.
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