World's Best Science & Math Students: Asians Dominate, Americans Still Behind Despite Improvements, Study Reveals

By Amanda Moore, Parent Herald December 01, 04:00 am

Students from Asian countries are still the best in science and math, while American students are behind their counterparts despite some improvements in recent years. The findings were revealed through the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) that was undertaken in 2015.

Over 600,000 students around the world took the test that was first facilitated in 1995, according to Boston Globe. U.S. students showed a rise in scores especially among eighth graders (14-year-old) but the fourth graders' (10-year-old) scores dipped at least two points from its last highest average in 2011.

East Asians dominated the science and math test scores. Leading the pack in both grade levels is Singapore, followed by Hong Kong, Korea, Taipei and Japan, Quartz reports.

"East Asia has been the top performer for a long time, and the rest of the world is wondering if they will ever catch up," the study's co-director Ina Mullis said, according to Science Mag. Even then, the gap in scores between these countries' students are wide.

The study's results also revealed that students worldwide are challenged by STEM classes, especially when moving from elementary to middle and high school. There has been a significant change in the test scores between fourth to eighth grades. The growing trend is alarming educators as well as the countries who participated in the study.

TIMSS also took the students' background in its analysis of the study. Lack of access to technology was partly a factor to the dip in scores. The teachers' training is also crucial to the success of students in science and math.

For instance, 54 percent Singaporean STEM teachers are actual science and math majors apart from elementary education. In the United States, only 11 percent of American STEM teachers majored in these subjects.

What do you think would be the best ways for U.S. to catch up to the leading countries? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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