Occasionally a thread comes up where people discuss the dire state of the educational system in teaching math and sciences. From those thread there were usually a lot of anecdotal evidence presented about how such-and-such school was good or this teacher was terrible and so on. I took a bit of time to look for some comprehensive study to see just how bad education is internationally. I found an extensive study called PISA (I think its Program for International Student Assessment).
The 2000 study appeared comprehensive (the full study is over 300 pages) and tested 15 year-olds from numerous countries in various subjects. I'll summarize the Math results and the Science results for the countries that represent most of the BABB posters (US, Canada, UK, Australia and Germany). Because the study gives a range of results at a 95% confidence level, it gives countries a 'best possible' and 'worst possible' ranking.
Note: Japan and Korea took the top two spots in both categories, 32 countries were tested
, MATH, SCIENCE
US, 16th-23rd, 11th-21st
Canada, 5-8, 4-8
UK, 6-10, 3-7
Australia, 4-9, 4-8
Germany, 20-22, 19-23
This study would indicate that while people in the US and Germany might have cause for concern the educational systems of Canada, Australia and the UK appear to do a reasonable job in math and science education, better than some of the horror stories might indicate.
Anyone with any comments? I'd especially like to hear from anyone who may have experience or knowledge of this test and how it was conducted.