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US students lag peers in East Asia, Russia in the subjects of mathematics, science

US students lag behind other countries in certain subjects

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WASHINGTON – In a globally competitive world, American students have taken steps to make when it comes to math and science, where they lag behind a solid block of Eastern Asian countries, Russia and Kazakhstan.

Eighth graders in the United States improved their scores in math in the past four years on the global exam. The Scores for the science, however, were flat. In the fourth grade, the scores were unchanged in the math and science tests, according to results released Tuesday.

“The results suggest a leveling off in the most recent cycle,” said Ina Mullis, executive director of the TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center at Boston College, where the researchers helped coordinate staff for management of the evaluations. “Always prefer to see improvement, but keep yourself prefer.”

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Singapore topped the ranking in first place in both the figures for mathematics and science on the tests, known as the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, or TIMSS.

The United States placed 10th in the fourth grade science and eighth grade mathematics. In eighth grade science, the U.S. was in 11th place. It ranked 14th for the fourth-grade math, just behind Portugal and Kazakhstan.

Globally, the results of the exams of 2015 showed performance trends were — with more countries registering increases than decreases in math and science for both grades. Gender gaps were another highlight. They became smaller in the past 20 years, especially in science at the eighth level.

“Many countries have worked hard to close the achievement gap, and have promoted girls’ interest and participation in science,” said Michael Martin, who runs the International Study Center Mullis.

While the short-term trend for American students overall was not glowing, scores over the past 20 years have improved significantly. Math and science scores of the eighth graders had sharp gains, as the scores for the fourth grade mathematics. Science scores for fourth graders showed more modest gains over the past two decades.

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Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, praised progress made by the nation’s students. The study “confirms that when there is an alignment between teachers and students, instruction and standards, and the resources, giving teachers the flexibility to teach what students need to know and do — we see success,” says Weingarten.

The TIMSS exams are administered every four years in dozens of countries around the world. More than 600,000 students around the world took part in the exams of 2015.

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