Officials at Kyrgyzstan’s Education Ministry have little reason to celebrate this holiday season. The troubled Central Asian country ranked last in the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), which aims to predict and gradually improve nations’ “economic and social well-being” through regular, comparative evaluations of teenagers’ proficiency in reading, math and science.
The latest results of the PISA tests, administered since 2000 at three-year intervals to 15-year-olds in dozens of countries by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), were released December 7 with Kyrgyzstan coming in 65th. Its mean score suggests that high-school students in the impoverished nation lag some four and a half years behind their peers from OECD countries in terms of formal schooling and more than six years behind top-scoring Shanghai, China.
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