The results of the PISA survey, conducted last year, show that 15-year-old students from four coastal regions of China - the municipalities of Beijing and Shanghai plus the eastern provinces of Jiangsu and Zhejiang - ranked first among their worldwide peers in mathematics, science, and reading. In 2009 (the last time reading was a focus) as well as in 2018, immigrant students in Switzerland scored about 50 points below non-immigrant students in reading, it said.
Responding to disputes that a few eastern regions can not show the whole educational picture of the world's most populous county, the OECD said that each of them is comparable in size to many western countries, and have a combined population of over 180 million. In maths, male students performed six points higher than female students, which is the equivalent of around one-fifth of a year of schooling.
In science, the national score was 383, in contrast to the OECD average of 489. Schools in each country are randomly selected, and OECD says the selection of schools is kept as inclusive as possible so that student samples are drawn from a broad range of backgrounds and abilities.
Encouragingly, the PISA results show the difference in performance between schools in Ireland is lower than the OECD average.
Bigger European nations languished well behind in the rankings, with Britain in 14th place, Germany 20th and France 23rd.
"The bottom line is there has not been a single study that shows American education is improving enough", DeVos said.
Other OECD member countries include advanced developed countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Japan.
Additionally, Sweden has improved across all three subjects since 2012, reversing earlier declines.
"High-performing countries generally take their teachers from the top 30 per cent of academic achievers".
Its schools are among the best-performing in the world.
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In Turkey, female students are 25 points ahead of male students in the field of reading.
"My appeal to them is that everyone has to work together to turn this around", he said.
Bulgaria came in at the bottom of the list for European Union countries, dropping by as many as 22 points since 2015 for its score in science. That means they can not, for example, convert a price into a different currency.
Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu province and Zhejiang province, which jointly participated in the tests as one region, finished first in the three fields. This compares to only 2.4% in OECD countries.
In reading performance, 15-year-olds in Denmark score 501 points compared to an average of 487 points in OECD countries.
"Fewer than 1 in 10 students in OECD countries was able to distinguish between fact and opinion, based on implicit cues pertaining to the content or source of the information", he said.
Australia should be a leader in school education.
School bullying is also something that can't be ignored.
"However, the strength of the relationship between a student's socio-economic status and his or her performance varied greatly across countries and economies".
Students who gave positive responses about reading in the questionnaire tended to score higher in that section of the test.