BOSTON– Massachusetts students exceeded the national average and scored among the top performing education systems worldwide in reading, mathematics, and science literacy, according to today’s release of results from the 2012 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA). PISA is a triennial international survey designed to assess how well 15-year-old students can apply the knowledge and skills they have learned in school to real-life situations.

According to the 2012 PISA results, Massachusetts students performed best in reading literacy and tied for fourth worldwide, trailing only students from Shanghai-China, Hong King-China, and Singapore. In mathematics and science literacy, Massachusetts students tied for tenth and seventh, respectively, among the 65 participating countries and education systems.

“In the Commonwealth, education remains a top priority. The result from the PISA exemplifies the quality of education being provided across the state,” said Senator Michael O. Moore (D-Millbury). “Our students are our future and our world-class education system will continue to allow Massachusetts to remain competitive economically.”

A random, representative sample of more than 1,700 students from 49 Massachusetts public schools took a two-hour PISA test between October and November 2012. Students from Massachusetts outscored students from the other two participating states, Connecticut and Florida, as well as the national average in all three subjects.

Other 2012 PISA results for Massachusetts include:

Reading Literacy:

• Massachusetts students scored an average of 527 in reading literacy. The U.S. average was 498, while the OECD average was 496. Students in Connecticut scored on average 521, while students in Florida had an average score of 492.

• The three top performing education systems, which scored statistically higher than Massachusetts, were Shanghai-China (average score of 570), Hong Kong- China (545), and Singapore (542).

• Sixteen (16) percent of Massachusetts students scored at proficiency level 5 or higher in reading literacy, compared to 25 percent of students from Shanghai- China, the top achieving system.

• Female students in Massachusetts (average score of 542) outperformed male students (average score of 511).

Mathematics Literacy:

• Massachusetts students scored an average of 514 in mathematics literacy. The U.S. average was 481, while the OECD average was 494. Students in Connecticut scored on average 506, while students in Florida had an average score of 467.

• The nine education systems that statistically outperformed Massachusetts in 2012 include Shanghai-China (average score of 613), Singapore (573), Hong Kong-China (561), Chinese Taipei (560), Republic of Korea (554), Macao-China (538), Japan (536), Liechtenstein (535), and Switzerland (531).

• Nineteen (19) percent of Massachusetts students scored at proficiency level 5 or higher in mathematics literacy, compared to 55 percent of students from Shanghai-China, the top achieving system.

• Male students in Massachusetts (average score of 518) outperformed female students (average score of 509).

Science Literacy:

• Massachusetts students scored an average of 527 in science literacy. The U.S. average was 497, while the OECD average was 501. Students in Connecticut scored on average 521, while students in Florida had an average score of 485.

• The six education systems that statistically outperformed Massachusetts in 2012 include Shanghai-China (average score of 580), Hong Kong-China (555), Singapore (551), Japan (547), Finland (545), and Estonia (541).

• Fourteen (14) percent of Massachusetts students scored at proficiency level 5 or higher in science literacy, compared to 27 percent of students in Shanghai-China, the top achieving system.

• The average scores for male students in Massachusetts (average score of 529) did not differ significantly from the scores for female students (average score of 526).

For additional information about PISA, visit the National Center for Education Statistics’ website at http://nces.ed.gov/surveys/pisa/.