High Expectation, Poor Preparation

85% of US students plan to have a high-skill career, but only 68% are proficient in math, reading and science and only 17% are highly proficient.


by Jennifer Craw

85% of US students plan to have a high-skill career, but only 68% are proficient in math, reading and science and only 17% are highly proficient.
Nearly 90 percent of U.S. 15-year-old students who took the most recent PISA examination say that they expect to have a highly-skilled occupation when they join the workforce. However, less than 70 percent of them scored at or above basic proficiency (level two or higher on PISA’s six point scale) in all three tested subjects. And fewer than 20 percent scored at the highest levels of proficiency (levels five and six) in even one of the tested subjects. This mismatch between student aspirations and skills is even more troubling in light of advances in AI and automation, which will have far-reaching consequences for the future workforce. Read more about the disconnect between students’ future plans and current abilities in OECD’s new report Dream jobs: Teenagers’ career aspirations and the future of work.