Video: Girls close the math and science gap

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updated 12/4/2007 6:18:43 PM ET 2007-12-04T23:18:43

U.S. students are lagging behind their peers in other countries in science and math, test results out Tuesday show.

The test, the Program for International Student Assessment, was given to 15-year-olds in 30 industrialized countries last year. It focused on science but also included a math portion.

The 30 countries, including the United States, make up the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which runs the international test.

The average scores for U.S. students were lower than the average scores for the group as a whole.

U.S. students also had an average science score that was lower than the average score in 16 other OECD countries. In math, U.S. students did even worse — posting an average score that was lower than the average in 23 of the other leading industrialized countries.

The test also was administered to students in about two dozen countries or jurisdictions that are not part of the industrialized group.

When compared with the broader group, the U.S. students fell in the middle of the pack in science and did somewhat worse in math.

There was no change in U.S. math scores since 2003, the last time the test was given. The science scores aren't comparable between 2003 to 2006, because the tests aren't the same.

U.S. girls and boys did about the same on the science and math portions of the test.

Finland's 15-year-olds did the best on the science test, followed by students in Hong Kong and Canada. Students in Finland, Taiwan, South Korea and Hong Kong were the top performers in math.

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