US adults score below average on worldwide competency test

WASHINGTON - It's not just American school kids who don't measure up to their counterparts around the globe. U.S. adults don't either.

Global test results released Tuesday find that 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.

Adults in Japan, Canada, Australia, Finland and multiple other countries scored significantly higher. Beyond basic reading and math, respondents were tested on activities such as calculating mileage reimbursement, sorting email and comparing food expiration dates on grocery store tags.

The findings also reinforced just how large the gap is between the nation's high- and low-skilled workers.

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.

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