NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Report Compares Students in 32 Industrialized Countries

October 30, 2002

High school teachers in the United States spend more time teaching students than their counterparts in other countries, according to a new report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). But the bad news is that U.S. students perform no better than the rest.

  • The report says U.S. teachers spend 73 percent more time teaching their classes than do teachers in other countries.
  • While about 12 percent of U.S. 15-year-olds exhibit "top-level literary skills," about 6 percent of U.S. students are unable to do all but the most basic work -- about the same as most other industrialized countries.
  • Mid-career U.S. teachers earn an average of $40,037 -- ranking eighth among 27 countries with comparable data.
  • About 24 percent of American 15-year-olds say students don't listen to their teachers -- average when compared to other countries.

However, well-financed suburban schools in America are producing excellent students, the researchers found.

On average, U.S. students, on average, share computers with four other students -- compared with 13 students on a computer in other OECD countries. Perhaps that's why U.S. students report they are more comfortable with computers than their foreign counterparts say they are.

Source: Gregg Toppo (Associated Press), "Students Are Getting More Face Time, But Results Are Only Average," USA Today, October 30, 2002; "Education at a Glance - OECD Indicators 2002," Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.  


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