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Skills gap articulates need for high educational standards
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2015 12:37 PM

The education students get now will define their place in the global professional scene when they reach adulthood. From literacy to computational skills gained in the classroom, students must learn what they can and apply it once they start their careers. For this reason, education is vital to students' success. With that in mind, you may wonder how older generations fare now that they're past their K-12 experience. A new report by Educational Testing Service analyzed data compiled by the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies and revealed that the millennial generation has fallen behind its peers around the world. For this reason, education for the next generation will have to help the U.S. catch up.

About the millennials
The PIAAC data grouped individuals between the ages of 16 and 34 in the millennial generation. The study compared the arithmetic and literacy skills of millennials from 24 countries to see how the U.S. fares on the international stage. The results weren't so positive. In fact, the U.S. ranked lower than 15 of the 22 countries in literacy and tied for last in numeracy. Italy and Spain ranked lower in literacy and on par in numeracy. 

What's more, even millennials who had gone on to earn a finishing degree (such as a master's or doctorate) scored lower than most peers across the globe, ranking higher than Ireland, Poland and Spain. Millennials are turning out to be the most educated generation society has seen thus far, yet the U.S. is far behind in the international stage.

Where to restart 
The ETS report highlights the disparity in literacy and arithmetic skills and may indicate a need for the U.S. to reevaluate education. The Common Core State Standards, which are now fully implemented in participating states, aim to improve students' abilities and help them become internationally competitive. In fact, the CCSS were developed using benchmarks common around the world. The Standards' main goal is to help students graduate high school ready for college and careers. 

The study also highlighted that the U.S. has a disparity between groups, and education needs to better serve underprivileged individuals in order to help the country improve its literacy and math scores. Skills gaps between minority and majority students has been an issue in the U.S. for many years, and numerous studies show that minority students don't achieve as highly as they could.

To become a more competitive nation in terms of education, the U.S. needs to help underprivileged students and boost rigor in classrooms.




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