Fit to compete?


American adults, like high-school students, have nothing to brag about in their displays of math, reading, and problem-solving skills compared to their international counterparts.

According to a skills exam known as the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies, U.S. performance lagged behind other countries in these key subjects. Japan, Canada, Australia, Finland, and other countries scored significantly higher than the United States in all three parts.

Older U.S. adults who took the test scored higher than their younger counterparts. In Poland and South Korea, by contrast, younger adults did better than their elders, which suggests those countries are better positioned for the future.

Americans, young and old, evidently have their work cut out for them to improve their fitness to compete in the global economy. In this case, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.