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Study says younger adults not as skilled as older adults, Americans below international average

Teach the Vote
Teach the Vote

Date Posted: 10/09/2013 | Author: Jennifer Mitchell, CAE

A new study from the European Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has found that not only are Americans lagging behind other countries in practical workplace skills, but also that the younger generation of Americans is far behind the older generation. Billed as the most comprehensive adult skills test to date, the study tested 157,000 adults in 24 countries and regions in areas such as literacy and numeracy. Most participants took the test at home and were allowed to use computers to help with answers. The oldest generation of Americans scored on par with the international average, but were behind world leaders Japan and Finland. Americans in every other age group scored well below the international average and their older American counter parts. The study found that the median hourly wage of those who scored in the top two tiers in literacy was 60 percent higher than those who scored at the lowest rung, and those who scored low had a higher rate of unemployment and were more likely to report poor health and civic disengagement. Reactions to the study are mixed. According to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan: "These findings should concern us all. They show our education system hasn't done enough to help Americans compete or position our country to lead in a global economy that demands increasingly higher skills." However, others are skeptical. Mark Schneider, a vice president at the American Institutes of Research who formerly oversaw statistics at the U.S. Department of Education, said of the results: "Japan is the leader, but the fact is its economy has been in the toilet for 40 years. What are the lessons here?" It's also worth noting that the Pearson Foundation, a non-profit foundation funded by the testing company that produces the STARR standardized tests used in Texas public schools, was a partner in the study. Visit this site or watch the video below for more information on the study. What do you think? What lessons should be gleaned from this study? Let us know in the comments section below.


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