Israel has the highest standard deviation of reading test scores of any country taking the new PISA test: 124 compared to an OECD average of 99. US is around 108. Ireland has the lowest SD of any above average scoring country at around 91.
PISA is scored much like an SAT test with an intended mean for rich countries of 500 and a standard deviation of 100.
Mexico has a low standard deviation of 82. Mexico doesn’t have much of an intellectual elite according to PISA. There are rich people in Mexico, but their kids don’t seem to study hard in school judging by the lack of high scoring Mexicans on the PISA test over the years. Not surprisingly, Israel has The Bomb and Mexico does not.
Finland has the least Between School variation, with almost all of its variance stemming from differences among students Within Each School. Israel has the most Between School variation, followed by Lebanon and Netherlands.
New Zealand’s ethnic distribution of scores is pretty similar to America’s, with Maori scoring like Hispanics and non-Maori Pacific Islanders like blacks:
in the order reading, maths, science
Asian: 517, 522, 523
White: 524, 507, 526
Māori: 463, 451, 465
Pacific: 442, 433, 438
Thanks to iSteve commenter Harold for digging these up.
A number of Third World countries took PISA on a trial basis in 2017:
Ecuador did the best of these countries, Zambia the worst:
Something fishy happened in Spain:
The OECD has decided to defer the publication of the PISA 2018 reading results, both national and sub-regional, for Spain. Spain’s data met PISA 2018 Technical Standards. However, some data show implausible student-response behaviour. Consequently, at the time of publication of this report, comparability of Spain’s results in reading cannot be assured (see Annex A9). PISA 2018 reading results for Spain are therefore not published in this report. Results in the mathematics and science domains appear less affected by this anomalous response behaviour. Further review will confirm this.