unacceptable if our schools are to live up to the American promise of giving all children a world-class education.''
In the meantime, other countries are making significant strides. Russian middle school students were about tied in math with their American peers in 2007, the last time the study was conducted. Four years later, Russia's scores have surged and now surpass the US by a significant margin.
Globally, the gender gap appears to be closing. About half of the countries showed no statistically meaningful gap between boys and girls in math and science.
The tests are carried out by the International Association for Evaluation of Educational Achievement, a coalition of research institutions.