American Adults Score Below Average on Worldwide Test Measuring Math, Reading and Problem-Solving

Daily Mail (London), October 8, 2013

It’s long been known that America’s school kids haven’t measured well compared with their international peers, but now there’s a new twist: its adults don’t either.

In math, reading and problem-solving using technology, American adults scored below the international average on a global test, according to results released on Tuesday.

Adults in Japan, Canada, Australia, Finland and multiple other countries scored significantly higher than the U.S. in all three areas. The findings were equally grim for many European countries.

Beyond basic reading and math, respondents were tested on activities such as calculating mileage reimbursement due to a salesman, sorting email and comparing food expiration dates on grocery store tags.


Not only did Americans score poorly compared to many international competitors, the findings reinforced just how large the gap is between the nation’s high- and low-skilled workers and how hard it is to move ahead when your parents haven’t.

In both reading and math, for example, those with college educated parents did better than those whose parents did not complete high school.

The study, called the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies, found that it was easier on average to overcome this and other barriers to literacy overseas than in the U.S.

Researchers tested about 157,000 people ages 16 to 65 in more than 20 countries and subnational regions.


The Education Department’s Center for Education Statistics participated.

In Europe, Italy and Spain, among the hardest hit by the recession and debt crisis, ranked at the bottom across generations.


But in the northern European countries that have fared better, the picture was brighter–and the study credits continuing education.

In Finland, Denmark, and the Netherlands, more than 60 percent of adults took part is either job training or continuing education. In Italy, by contrast, the rate was half that.


Among the other findings:

– Americans scored toward the bottom in the category of problem solving in a technology rich environment.

The top five scores in the areas were from Japan, Finland, Australia, Sweden and Norway, while the U.S. score was on par with England, Estonia, Ireland and Poland.


America’s school kids have historically scored low on international assessment tests compared to other countries, which is often blamed on the diversity of the population and the high number of immigrants.

Also, achievement tests have long shown that a large chunk of the U.S. student population lacks basic reading and math skills–most pronounced among low-income and minority students.

This test could suggest students leaving high school without certain basic skills aren’t obtaining them later on the job or in an education program.


Respondents were selected as part of a nationally represented sample. The test was primarily taken at home using a computer, but some respondents used a printed test booklet.

Also among the findings:

– Japan, Finland, Canada, Netherlands, Australia, Sweden, Norway, Flanders-Belgium, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, and Korea all scored significantly higher than the United States in all three areas on the test.

– The average scores in literacy range from 250 in Italy to 296 in Japan. The U.S. average score was 270. (500 was the highest score in all three areas.)

Average scores in 12 countries were higher than the average U.S. score.

– The average scores in math range from 246 in Spain to 288 in Japan. The U.S. average score was 253, below 18 other countries.

– The average scores on problem solving in technology-rich environments scale for adult ranged from 275 in Poland to 294 in Japan. The U.S. average score was 277, below 14 other countries.


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  • TheCogitator

    My guess is if only the white European descendant Americans taking the test were considered, their scores would compare favorably with the top nations.

    • Erasmus

      You beat me to it. But, it would be “rayciss” to point out the disparity in problem-solving performance by race.

      Diversity is a country’s death sentence.

      • Whitetrashgang

        The least we could do today is have some bumper stickers printed up with that slogan and sell them on the internet.

      • MikeofAges

        In the long epochs of civilizations, it has been.

      • LastBastionOfHope

        I was on a sports forum for a university that is very diverse and when the members said how great the diversity was I explained the flaws in thinking such. I got kicked off. Predictably, I got no intellectual rebuttal, just silenced then kicked out.

    • sbuffalonative

      Just more proof of our racist school system. We undervalue minorities so what can we expect? *end sarcasm*

      • Chris Granzow XI

        lol. Clearly it’s the institutional and systemic racism inherent in such broad-based tests and the lack of cultural relevancy in the questions, especially the math portion. *typical libtard argument*

    • Ella

      About 58% of our students are White enrolled in school and over 50% are nonwhite under four. This is a sad state for our young, European-descent children. Doing previous research, I know Denmark scores are similar to American White student scores. The Danish government closed down many smaller schools and combined them into larger districts, with multiple lay-offs as part of reducing costs. Socialist style countries do big cuts in health care and education as half Americans ignore the realities of ageing societies, shrinking economies and high costs.

    • A more useful comparison would be of white Americans with white Europeans, Japanese-Americans with Japanese, Korean-Americans with South Koreans, Chinese-Americans with Taiwanese, and so-on. This would tell us whether the US public schools are doing an effective job.

  • Jesse_from_Sweden


    This was taken up in Swedish nationalistic media as well, but not quite as brightly as one might think when reading this article.

    The problem here is not in comparing with other countries, but in comparing with past results, where Sweden now has fallen to a fifth place from having been at at the very top.

    And the score keeps dwindling year after year.

    Maybe Sweden will still be in top five next year. But we likely won’t in another five years, and in another ten, if current immigration continues, we’ll be lucky to be in top ten even.

    • Spartacus

      Don’t worry, the “Swedish” government( whose prime-minister is part African and part Jew) are working hard to make sure dark-skins will be the majority soon .

    • kjh64

      “The problem here is not in comparing with other countries, but in comparing with past results, where Maybe Sweden will still be in top five next year. But we likely won’t in another five years, and in another ten, if current immigration continues, we’ll be lucky to be in top ten even.see more ”

      This is a good point. The problem with comparing to different countries is that different nations have different tests and standards on what is good. Will your nation Sweden still be in the top five in the future? Look at California. In the 1940’s, California ranked higher than any state in the USA and higher than most of Europe. It had one of the best school systems in the world. Then came immigration. California was flooded with immigrants mostly from Mexico. As this happened, their rankings began slipping. Fast forward to today. California’s students are majority Mexican. They now have the lowest ranking schools in the USA and in the world. What happened? The students changed. Same will happen to Sweden if things don’t change. If Sweden continues to allow 3rd world immigration or if these immigrants out breed the local Swedes, the quality of Sweden’s students and schools will fall and so will the test scores.

      • Fr. John+

        Race ultimately matters, is what you are saying.

  • Luca

    The mating of any two mammals who are not at exactly the same level produces a medium somewhere between the level of the two parents. Therefore, each offspring of this type of union will probably be superior than the inferior parent, but not reach the level of the superior parent.

    Because our government, like most in Europe, are on a hellbent crusade to blend the races through laws, propaganda and immigration we are going to get a medium/mediocre population. This is good if you want a class of people who follow direction and are easily swayed to follow the herd.

    When you test the intelligence of the population, you will get a medium/mediocre result.

    Meanwhile the elites will live in gated communities, send their and kids to private schools will keep their bloodlines pure based on religious, class, political and wealth factors.

    Note the top two countries in the chart, they are virtually racially pure.

    • Erasmus

      The mongrelization of the US continues right on schedule.

  • One of the weird things about the OCED, as Sailer was able to ferret out, is that in several instances, American Hispanics did worse than American blacks, which is the first time I’ve ever seen blacks not at the bottom in some test of learning or cognition.

    • Nathanwartooth

      Could have been lots of things.

      Could have been “one drop” Blacks. Also remember that mulatto Blacks have the same average IQ as Hispanics. The Hispanic could have not spoken English very well, etc.

    • Ella

      You have to read at a certain level to problem-solve. So, after billions of taxpayer monies, more test results have finally proved bilingual education to be a total failure. You witness two generations of American born children where they never leaned enough English to read a menu or a can of peas.

      • A lot of the diversitards can’t even read well enough to understand a typical television commercial.

  • Ella

    Better educated Americans do not want to “hang out” with peasants from the 3rd World. We just don’t have anything in common with them; the cultural barrier, including education, is very obvious. I wonder how many American families will start living apart due to one worker employed in a city, and they will continue to avoid the mass influx or deteriorating infrastructure in most cities.

    • Jack Burton

      Stupid people are really annoying. I can’t even stand to be around people who are lower than 115. I’m not trying to be elitist, it’s just the things they say make no damn sense.

  • Spartacus

    The fewer dark-skins, the better that country scores. This proves that reading is racist.

    • Jesse_from_Sweden

      Nope, you got it all wrong.

      The only thing this proves is what the state of California has already decided is true, namely that anything that tests for mental ability is racist.

      • It is illegal in California for a school – “skoo”? – to give a black child any sort IQ test.

        • Jesse_from_Sweden

          My point exactly.

          • The problem is that this makes it effectively impossible for schools to properly place black students in classes that will challenge them without being overwhelmingly difficult. Once again, we see the libtard do-gooders harming blacks by trying not to damage their precious self-esteem.

          • Jesse_from_Sweden

            Why was my comment deleted?
            What was in it that could possibly have been offensive?

  • Homo_Occidentalis

    Deceptive studies such as this are a classic tool of leftists, who bemoan the poor rankings of “Americans” on world rankings for anything from educational performance to median income, and make exhortations for various socialist remedies to the perceived problems.

    The fact that they always omit, however, is that only 63% of the subjects of such studies are Americans; a fraction which is inexorably declining year after year. Socialism is just distribution of wealth from whites to non-whites now.

    • Jack Burton

      White leftists are a scourge. The biggest passive-aggressive, sadistic, lying cunts in the world that want to hamstring us all and destroy culture and race.

  • Epiminondas

    You can’t take these surveys seriously when they don’t take race into account. Whites in Mississippi score about the same as whites around the world. Asians in California score as high or higher than their counterparts in Japan or China. And of course, American blacks and Hispanics score what their cousins do in various African and Latin nations. So let’s compare apples to apples here.

    • Jack Burton

      They talk about Americans being violent, dumb and fat, when what they’re really saying is blacks and Hispanics are violent, stupid and fat, they greatly inflate those numbers when taking Americans as a whole, especially the South, since we have the greatest numbers of blacks in the country.

  • [Guest]

    >>>”American Adults Score Below Average…”

    There’s American, and then there’s American.

    And there’s also African-American.

    >>>…Achievement tests have long shown that a large chunk of the U.S. student population lacks basic reading and math skills–most pronounced among … minority students.


  • Luca

    You’re speaking of upper middle-class or rich. I am speaking of elites. Uber rich captains of industry, politicians, bankers, the propaganda makers etc.

    Most Liberals are delusional and while some are highly educated they are simultaneously lacking in common sense. Most young people today are indoctrinated by academia, media, and Hollywood propaganda, that’s why there is so much inter-racial dating.

    The lies perpetuated by the usual suspects are monumental when it comes to black/brown failure, crime, violence, IQ, culture, etc.

    If you read statistics you know that most inter-racial unions are temporary due to irreconcilable differences, violence or abandonment. They suffer a much higher rate of divorce. The greater the divide in race, culture and IQ the greater the relationship difficulties.

    Whites, jews and Asians are far more compatible because of similar IQ and culture. I was talking about where significant separations of IQ exist.

  • Jack Burton

    We’re getting close to America being majority non-White, already is in some areas. So this absurd notion of not mentioning race and sub-race in these categorical studies, assuming that “we’re all equal” and the only things that matter are the educational curriculum and socio-economic factors is delusional. Race correlates with IQ and personality types, it’s highly predictive of group outcome.

    • Sick of it

      Currently it’s 60/40, assuming we don’t have even more than the estimated 30 illegal immigrants. In 15-20 years this will be a majority non-white country going by total population (already is with regards to infants). Our part of the population is mostly made up of older folks.

  • Magician

    As for the problem Solving Skills and Math Skills, I can understand that kids in East Asia fared better than kids here,

    but how did they measure the reading skills of the East Asian folks? (or any non-English speaking nation for that matter) Were the East Asian guys tested in English or Japanese?

    It can be very blurry and subjective when it comes to translating a language into another.

  • Magician

    A blond female friend of mine asked this question on facebook. It is from the Mensa pattern recognition test. One is to calculate and predict the correct number inside the 4th triangle. ( She is very attractive and athletic and random horny guys from India and other parts of Southwest Asia add her all the time. Of course, she blocks four or five of them every week)

    She told me East Asian boys got the correct answer very quickly, and everyone else either came up with an incorrect answer or gave up altogether. She received no attempt or correct answer from an East Asian female.

    • The answer is 3. It took me not even a full minute to figure it out. (Top minus lower left) multiplied by (lower right).

      • Magician

        what if you got 2, 2, 2, 2? or are all four numbers different?

        • The four numbers had to work out to 24 some way; 2-2-2-2 won’t at all, (I don’t think), so there was never a card with 2-2-2-2, or with any four numbers that couldn’t work out to 24 somehow.

          There was a 6-6-6-6, but the answer to that is obvious.

          If you get 9-5-2-1, the answer is (9-1)x(5-2), or (9×2)+5+1.

          • Magician

            ( Some African American boys will not be able to come to 24 if they are given 6, 6, 6, 6 )

          • Reverend Bacon

            5 x 5 – (5/5)

      • Greg Thomas

        I got the answer in 5 minutes. But I’m a little slow….

      • Thirty seconds here.

    • a multiracial individual

      Since everyone can solve that pattern problem eventually, I have to assume that speed is the factor that distinguishes brainpower between people. I find it hard to believe that some person could stare at that for 1/2 an hour and not get it eventually.

      • I think there are some people in this world who know full well how to do simple addition, subtraction, multiplication and division with Arabic whole number numerals who wouldn’t be able to solve Magician’s puzzle if you gave them their whole lives.

        But you’re right in general. Most people would be able to solve this, just as they would be able to solve the cards in the game of 24. Speed is the crucial factor, though. 24 was played in groups of four, and in the championship round foursome, it was obvious to all of us at the table that the difference between the winner and the slowest person on each card was within one second.

        6-6-6-6 was so obvious that when it came down, it was a matter of pure reaction time. As an aside, when you think you had the answer to any card, you slammed your hand on the card, which was placed in the middle of the table, equidistant from the four players.

  • me

    That study was ‘raaaycis’. They included a disproportionate number of Bantus and Squat Monsters, I’ll bet. They probably tested inmates at the prisons to get those statistics. I want a test done that separates the different races. It would be much more accurate, in terms of demographics.

  • What the authors of this study at the US Department of Education are unwilling to admit is that since the United States has a bimodal distribution in cognitive ability, deriving a mean from this and then comparing the result with the means of other nations is mathematically meaningless.

    The bell curve in the United States has two humps, like a Bactrian camel, not a dromedary.

  • Kronolog

    The intelligence may be the same, but the ability to build and maintain civic institutions is not.

  • JohnEngelman

    In both reading and math, for example, those with college educated parents did better than those whose parents did not complete high school.

    – Daily Mail (London), October 8, 2013

    Liberals will use this in order to try to make it easier for more people to go to college. They should consider that while professional basketball players are usually tall, playing basketball does not make people tall.

    Intelligent people are more likely to go to college. They are more likely to have children who inherit their high IQ genes.

  • LastBastionOfHope

    I’m sure this has absolutely nothing to do with the millions of low IQ blacks and illegal immigrants! LOL.

  • LastBastionOfHope

    2 reasons for these results:

    1) We embrace our mentally disabled and try to include them as much as possible. Countries like Japan have them aborted, don’t report their results, or excommunicate them. They are a social-darwinistic society which is why they are so accomplished.

    2) Our diversity is a death sentence in terms of them taking tests. We all know since IQ testing began until now that blacks vastly underperform and hispanics not too far ahead of them.

  • Perhaps he did, but former Japanese Prime Minister Nakasone once said that blacks and Mexicans were driving down US test averages.

  • Is this really the case? Using this reasoning, Sri Lankans would be better still. Many north Indians are Muslims, and Muzzies strike me as needlessly self-impressed. That sort of religious and cultural arrogance doesn’t serve very well when it comes to actually learning anything.

  • Fr. John+

    Da U.P.!!!

  • Fr. John+

    Sadly, we have two mantras going on in this sub-discussion. The first:

    “The Rich can always afford their own apartheid.”

    This used to be more verifiable, when the rich knew that they were different. But sixty years of Bolshevik BS, and even they are now miscegenating themselves to death.

    Secondly, is Garyson’s comment. Most of the ‘religious’ schools just happen to be in White, homogenous areas. But when the religious teachers (who all happen to be white) keep worrying over the ‘pagan babies,’ you develop “Rainbow Adoption” scenarios, which will kill your congregation in as little as 20 years; or you have the nagging propaganda that continues on unabated by the J-media, that to be proud, aware, and protective of your own race, is somehow, evil.

    You have to awaken from that Satanic lie, as well, in order to revert back to what we once had, in the 1950’s.

  • Since you are here online, you may have a accidental selection bias among your friends and co-workers.