Scoring Across Time

December 13, 2000 1 min read
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In 1999, international math and science tests were administered to the same cohort of 8th graders in 17 countries that took the tests as 4th graders in 1995. The charts below show how each nation’s students measured up against the average score of the 17 countries. For example, U.S. 4th graders scored 28 points higher than the average in science in 1995, but as 8th graders scored nine points below the average in 1999.

Color Key:
Average is significantly higher than the international average.
Average does not differ significantly from the international average.
Average is significantly lower than the international average.
4th grade
8th grade
Singapore 73 Singapore 8 0
South Korea 63 South Korea 63
Japan 50 Hong Kong 58
Hong Kong 40 Japan 5 5
Netherlands¹ 32 Netherlands 16
Czech Republic 23 Hungary 8
Slovenia¹ 8 Canada 7
Hungary¹ 4 Slovenia 6
United States 0 Australia 1
Australia¹ 0 Czech Republic -4
Italy¹ -7 Latvia² -19
Canada -12 United States -22
Latvia² -18 England -28
England¹ -33 New Zealand -33
Cyprus -42 Italy -39
New Zealand -48 Cyprus -48
Iran - 130 Iran -102
International average
of 17 nations
517 International average
of 17 nations

4th grade
8th grade
South Korea 62 Singapore 44
Japan 39 Hungary 28
United States 28 Japan 25
Australia¹ 28 South Korea 24
Czech Republic 18 Netherlands 21
Netherlands¹ 17 Australia 16
England¹ 14 Czech Republic 15
Canada 12 England 14
Italy¹ 10 Slovenia 9
Singapore 10 Canada³ 9
Slovenia¹ 8 Hong Kong 5
Hong Kong -6 United States -9
Hungary¹ -6 New Zealand -15
New Zealand -9 Latvia² -21
Latvia² -27 Italy -26
Cyprus -64 Cyprus -64
Iran - 134 Iran -76
International average
of 17 nations
514 International average
of 17 nations

—¹ Indicates did not meet international sampling and/or other guidelines at 4th grade in 1995.
—² Only Latvian-speaking schools were tested.
—³ Although Slovenia scores higher than Canada in science, its results are not statistically different from the mean, while Canada’s are, because its sample size is smaller.

A version of this article appeared in the December 13, 2000 edition of Education Week as Scoring Across Time

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