3l1za writes "The New York Times reports that the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has released its results (pdf) for a test of mathematical skills given to 15 year olds in 40 different countries. A few apparent anomalies: The US kids rated 28th of 40 (so in the bottom third) while the Czech Republic, which spends in education 1/3 of what the US spends, ranked in the top 10. Further, only about 1/3 of US kids reported that they did not feel as though they were good at math, whereas about 2/3 of Koreans reported this--and the Koreans ranked in the top three. 'Mr. Schleicher said that students in countries that emphasized theorems and rote learning tended not to do as well as those that emphasized the more practical aspects of mathematics.'"