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Percent of students scoring at each of the NAEP achievement levels by country

This table shows that in eighth grade math, only three-quarters (73 percent) of top-performing Singapore’s eighth graders would reach NAEP’s proficient level. Two-thirds of the students in the next highest performing countries (such as Korea, Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei, and Japan) would also reach proficiency on NAEP (Phillips 2007).

Nation Percent at or above Basic Percent at or above Proficient Percent at or above Advanced
Singapore 96** 73** 35**
Hong Kong 95** 66** 24**
Korea 92** 65** 29**
Chinese Taipei 88** 61** 30**
Japan 90** 57** 20**
Belgium (Flemish) 82** 40 9
Netherlands 83** 38 7
Hungary 77 37 9
Estonia 82** 36 6
Slovak Republic 68 28 6
Australia 67 27 5
Russia 69 27 5
Malaysia 70 26 4
United States 67 26 5
Latvia 70 25 4
Lithuania 66 24 4
Israel 63 24 5
England 65 22 4
Scotland 65 22 3
New Zealand 63 21 3
Sweden 66 21 3
Serbia 54* 19 4
Slovenia 63 19 2
Romania 53* 18 4
Armenia 54 18 3
Italy 58 17 2
Bulgaria 53 17 3
Moldova 46* 12* 1
Cyprus 45* 11* 1
Source: Phillips, G. W. (2007). Linking NAEP Achievement Levels to TIMSS. American Institutes for Research. www.air.org/news/documents/naep-timss.pdf
** Indicates country has a statistically significant greater percentage reaching the achievement level than the United States
* Indicates country has a statistically significant lower percentage reaching the achievement level than the United States


This guide was written by Jim Hull, Policy Analyst, Center for Public Education

Special thanks to Susan Loomis, Assistant Director for Psychometrics, National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB); Ray Fields, Assistant Director for Policy and Research, NAGB; and Donald Rock, Educational Researcher, ETS for their insightful feedback and suggestions. However, the opinions and any errors found within the paper are solely those of the author.

Posted: June 17, 2008

© 2008 Center for Public Education
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