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National PTA Responds to Results of 2012 Programme for International Student Assessment

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Heidi May, Media Relations Manager

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (Dec. 4, 2013) — Yesterday, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) released the results from the 2012 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), a test of mathematics, science and reading literacy, which was administered last fall to 15-year-olds in the United States and 64 other countries and economies.

U.S. students scored slightly above average in reading, average in science and below average in math, compared to their peers around the world. Overall, the scores of U.S. students reflect little change since the test was last administered. PISA is given every three years and was first administered in 2000. It is designed to test whether students can apply what they’ve learned in school to real-life problems.

According to the OECD, the countries in which students perform the highest on the test prioritize links between families, schools and communities; invest in early childhood education; and have established rigorous and coherent academic standards. The findings from the PISA align with National PTA’s support of the Common Core State Standards and commitment to building family-school partnerships.

“As the largest child advocacy association in the country, National PTA remains committed to working closely with parents, educators, policymakers and other stakeholders to advance education and ensure every child graduates with the skills needed to compete and succeed globally,” said Otha Thornton, National PTA President. “The results of the 2012 PISA demonstrate a clear need for academic standards that raise the bar and are aligned with what students are expected to know to excel in today’s workplace. The results also underscore the importance of family engagement in education.”

The Common Core State Standards are internationally benchmarked, relevant to the real world and reflect the knowledge and skills students need to compete globally and excel in their studies and the workplace. National PTA is confident that the standards are an essential tool to ensure every child receives a high quality education that prepares him or her for success upon graduation from high school. National PTA has played a leading role in educating families and communities about the Common Core State Standards and remains committed to supporting parents and educators every step of way as the standards are implemented in classrooms across the country.     

In addition, National PTA firmly believes that families, schools and communities must partner to advance education and ensure student success. Research shows that when families, schools and communities work together, student achievement increases and schools improve. The Family Engagement in Education Act of 2013, which was introduced in July in the House and Senate, is a means to empower parents, improve capacity for states and provide much-needed resources for schools to increase family engagement. National PTA is committed to supporting the passage of the Act and strengthening family engagement in schools across the country.

Through support of the Common Core State Standards and Family Engagement in Education Act, among other policies and initiatives, National PTA is committed to the advancement of education to ensure all students graduate prepared to succeed globally. For more information on the Family Engagement Act of 2013 and National PTA’s efforts to support the transition to the Common Core State Standards, visit

About National PTA

National PTA® comprises millions of families, students, teachers, administrators, and business and community leaders devoted to the educational success of children and the promotion of parent involvement in schools. PTA is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit association that prides itself on being a powerful voice for all children, a relevant resource for families and communities, and a strong advocate for public education. Membership in PTA is open to anyone who wants to be involved and make a difference for the education, health, and welfare of children and youth.