American teenagers are falling behind their international peers when it comes to “mathematics literacy,” or the practical application of math skills, according to new data from the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA). Yet solving real-world problems, using math, is among the most important academic outcomes that students will need in order to be successful in 21st-century jobs.
“Almost 40% of students aspire to careers in science and technology,” says Jon Schnur, executive chairman of America Achieves, an advocacy organization. “There’s real interest in this, our kids are hungry.”
PISA measures competency in math, reading, and science every three years by testing 15-year-old students around the world. U.S. reading and science scores have been largely flat in recent years.