Study finds Americans really are more stupid than the average human

For some time now and especially the last couple of days, FOTM has sounded the alarm on the abysmal ignorance and stupidity of Americans. See:

Now there’s a study showing American adults are dumber than the international average.

~Eowyn

Dumb_And_DumberThe Associated Press reports, Oct. 8, 2013, that although it’s long been known that America’s school kids haven’t measured well compared with international peers, a new study shows that American adults don’t either.

In math, reading and problem-solving using technology – all skills considered critical for global competitiveness and economic strength – American adults scored below the international average on a global test, according to results released Tuesday.

Adults in Japan, Canada, Australia, Finland and multiple other countries scored significantly higher than the United States in all three areas on the test. Beyond basic reading and math, respondents were tested on activities such as calculating mileage reimbursement due to a salesman, sorting email and comparing food expiration dates on grocery store tags.

Not only did Americans score poorly compared to many international competitors, the findings reinforced just how large the gap is between the nation’s high- and low-skilled workers and how hard it is to move ahead when your parents haven’t.

In both reading and math, for example, those with college-educated parents did better than those whose parents did not complete high school.

The study, called the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies, found that it was easier on average to overcome this and other barriers to literacy overseas than in the United States. Respondents in the study were selected as part of a nationally represented sample.

Researchers tested about 166,000 people ages 16 to 65 in more than 20 countries and subnational regions. The test was developed and released by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which is made up of mostly industrialized member countries. The Education Department’s Center for Education Statistics participated. (Note: The website of CES is closed due to the supposed government shutdown, but not the website of Michelle Obama’s pet project, Let’s Move.)

The findings were equally grim for many European countries – Italy and Spain, among the hardest hit by the recession and debt crisis, ranked at the bottom across generations. Unemployment is well over 25% in Spain and over 12% in Italy. Spain has drastically cut education spending, drawing student street protests.

But in the northern European countries that have fared better, the picture was brighter – and the study credits continuing education. In Finland, Denmark, and the Netherlands, more than 60% of adults took part in either job training or continuing education. In Italy, by contrast, the rate was half that.

As the American economy sputters along and many people live paycheck-to-paycheck, economists say a highly-skilled workforce is key to economic recovery. The median hourly wage of workers scoring on the highest level in literacy on the test is more than 60% higher than for workers scoring at the lowest level, and those with low literacy skills were more than twice as likely to be unemployed.

“It’s not just the kids who require more and more preparation to get access to the economy, it’s more and more the adults don’t have the skills to stay in it,” said Anthony Carnevale, director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.

Students leaving high school without certain basic skills aren’t obtaining them later on the job or in an education program. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a statement America needs to find ways to reach more adults to upgrade their skills. Otherwise, he said, “no matter how hard they work, these adults will be stuck, unable to support their families and contribute fully to our country.”

Among the other findings:

  • Japan, Finland, Canada, Netherlands, Australia, Sweden, Norway, Flanders-Belgium, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, and Korea all scored significantly higher than the United States in all three areas on the test.
  • The average scores in literacy range from 250 in Italy to 296 in Japan. The US average score was 270. (500 was the highest score in all three areas.) Average scores in 12 countries were higher than the average US score.
  • The average scores in math range from 246 in Spain to 288 in Japan. The US average score was 253, below 18 other countries.
  • The average scores on problem solving in technology-rich environments ranged from 275 in Poland to 294 in Japan. The US average score was 277, below 14 other countries. The top five scores in the areas were from Japan, Finland, Australia, Sweden and Norway, while the US score was on par with England, Estonia, Ireland and Poland. In nearly all countries, at least 10% of adults lacked the most basic of computer skills such as using a mouse.
  • Japanese and Dutch adults who were ages 25 to 34 and only completed high school easily outperformed Italian or Spanish university graduates of the same age.
  • In England, Germany, Italy, Poland, and the United States, social background has a big impact on literacy skills, meaning the children of parents with low levels of education have lower reading skills.
  • America’s school kids have historically scored low on international assessment tests compared to other countries, which is often blamed on the diversity of the population and the high number of immigrants. Also, achievement tests have long shown that a large chunk of the US student population lacks basic reading and math skills – most pronounced among low-income and minority students.

The United States will have a tough time catching up because money at the state and local level, a major source of education funding, has been slashed in recent years, said Jacob Kirkegaard, an economist with the Peterson Institute for International Economics. “There is a race between man and machine here. The question here is always: Are you a worker for whom technology makes it possible to do a better job or are you a worker that the technology can replace?”  For those without the most basic skills, the answer will be merciless and has the potential to extend into future generations. Learning is highly correlated with parents’ education level. “If you want to avoid having an underclass – a large group of people who are basically unemployable – this educational system is absolutely key,” Kirkegaard said.

Dolores Perin, professor of psychology and education at Teachers College, Columbia University, said the report provides a “good basis for an argument there should be more resources to support adults with low literacy.” Adults can learn new skills at any age and there are adult-geared programs around the country. But the challenge is ensuring the programs have quality teaching and that adults regularly attend classes. “If you find reading and writing hard, you’ve been working hard all day at two jobs, you’ve got a young child, are you actually going to go to class? It’s challenging,” Perin said.

Some economists say that large skills gap in the United States could matter even more in the future. America’s economic competitors like China and India are simply larger than competitors of the past like Japan.

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23 responses to “Study finds Americans really are more stupid than the average human

  1. This is sad. In my profession, the Americans I comete with are sharp and demanding. Where are the dummies that are dragging our averages into the pits? (like I don’t know)

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  2. Idiocracy coming true earlier than expected…

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  3. Just heard that Jeff Daniels and Jim Carrey are working on a sequel to Dumb and Dummer.

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  4. The sad part is that there are SO MAN Y of them working under this administration. When a park service ranger would actually deny Americans access to their National Parks and Monuments under the orders of this POS or any POTUS for that matter, there is a major problem.

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  5. You’ll know who the really stoopid ones are when those that go on a government Obamacare website run by unscreened TSA rejects and start imputing their personal info.

    Those morons are going to get exactly what they deserve.

    -Dave

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    • That’s a VERY sharp insight, and readers MUST take it to heart, before they find themselves in a nightmare w/o end. Oh, there’s an end, certainly, but it’s likely an induced cardiac arrest, an ‘accident’ don’tcha know?.

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  6. So much for gubmint ejucasion….

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    • Ain’t that da trooth?

      Seriously, as an academic, I have given up on the efficacy of public schools to do much more than socialise youth, but they can get that w/o taxpayer expense on the street, in church [OK, if they go], and through playing together, although even that’s been corrupted terribly these past 50 yrs [I’m 70,5 yrs].

      Just today, however, I heard a report on CBC that sounds as if the feral gubbmint after 15-20 yrs complaints has finally heard our asking that youth be more involved in the Creation and get a life in play & sports.

      I would like it if they raised a joyful noise unto the Lord, but that’s way to much to expect at this time. I’m grateful for what we can get: healthier, happier, and maybe drug-free youngsters.

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  7. In an old History of America book I came across the other day where the wonders of the United States are set forth in the most interesting manner there is a section on education. At the time of publishing the observation that music was such a vital part of education and how the students were anxious to learn how to play an instrument and be part of a marching band. This develops part of the brain that makes it work more powerfully and classical music is another vital component that is missing in thhe public education sytem nowadays as a general rule so that could be one of the causes of such all round dull mental condition of so many people but there again with God, nothing is impossible, LET THE CHURCH ARISE.

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  8. The United States will have a tough time catching up because money at the state and local level, a major source of education funding, has been slashed in recent years, said Jacob Kirkegaard, an economist with the Peterson Institute for International Economics. “There is a race between man and machine here. The question here is always: Are you a worker for whom technology makes it possible to do a better job or are you a worker that the technology can replace?” For those without the most basic skills, the answer will be merciless and has the potential to extend into future generations. Learning is highly correlated with parents’ education level. “If you want to avoid having an underclass – a large group of people who are basically unemployable – this educational system is absolutely key,” Kirkegaard said. THIS GUY ILLUSTRATES WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE EDUCATION SYSTEM – HE IS PART OF THE PROBLEM. IT’S NOT THE MONEY – GET RID OF THE DOE AND TEACHERS UNIONS AND RETURN EDUCATION TO THE STATES AND LOCAL PEOPLE.

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  9. A couple of points:
    1. This writing at this particular time is typical of the spin for support of the Common Core “state” Standards to make your children “competitive in the global marketplace” with the “internationally benchmarked” standards (that really aren’t). The press has been instructed by Arne Duncan as to how they should be writing about the “state-led” Common Core:

    https://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/duncan-pushes-back-attacks-common-core-standards

    2. Here is a good video where the speaker Christopher Tienken, Ed.D refutes the Common Core claims of US vs. international performance that should be considered when reading these stories right now. Major damage control is going on right now to implement Common Core. Enter the Kool-Aid-free zone:

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  10. One other point of interest: Dr. Brian Ray of NHERI published a research paper in 2010 called “Academic Achievement and Demographic Traits of Homeschool Students: A Nationwide Study” that found that homeschool students generally scored well (65th-80th percentile) on nationally normed standardized achievement tests, but their parent’s education level and/or household income level and/or how much they spent on academic materials had very little effect on their performance when compared to other homeschoolers.

    You can read it here:
    http://contentcat.fhsu.edu/cdm/compoundobject/collection/p15732coll4/id/456/rec/28

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  11. Well – I jest hates to reed stuf lik dis. Mi folks has tol me I is to stooped to liv, an they’s ben thretenin to ship me to som plas they calls washdc. They sez I cood mak tha plas look god. is that rite? Do yoal no where that plas is?

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  12. Left/liberals love stupid people– that’s why they deliberately create so many of them in school nowadays; they’ll vote for stupid junk Democrats make sound appealing day in and out!

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  13. Dat kant bee tru. I be a guud speler and eye kan ad up 2 + 2 = 5. Dose iddiotts dat dide dat cervay arr stupeder dan dert.

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  14. Pingback: America needs a voting test to screen out the abysmally stupid -

  15. I read, somewhere, that the average IQ in the US was around 86. I could be a bit off on that, since I’m so stupid with only a three digit IQ., believe it or not. I’m no genius, for a fact, but every day, on almost every website or forum I frequent, I do take note of all the grammatical errors, mis-spelled words, etc., that I am forced to believe that the studies may be correct, to a degree. Yes, it’s a very sad state of affairs, how education has taken 4th seat to Iphones, TV games, RAP and other forms of what is now called “music” … and I use that term VERY loosely!

    Like

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