Index of Excellence in STEM Education Compares U.S. Students to Global Competition

Analyzes Student Performance in STEM-related Global Academic Competitions; U.S. Shows Improvement, but China Dominates
MCLEAN, Va. - Nov. 4, 2021 - PRLog -- Economic competitiveness is driven by scientific innovation of the nation's top achievers. To track how well U.S. students stack up against those in other countries, the nonprofit Center for Excellence in Education (CEE) developed an index of STEM education preparedness.

Based on the combined outcomes of International Olympiads in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Math, and Informatics, the index shows:
  • The People's Republic of China has dominated each of these events for the last 30 years.
  • Students from the USA have continued to perform well, with either second or third place overall rankings for the last five years.
  • The Russian Federation, also always a strong performer, is in second place.
  • Taiwan in fourth place.
  • Places 5 through 10 were captured by Singapore, Republic of Korea, Vietnam, Romania, Hong Kong, and Iran.
The index also shows that the performance of European students has declined as Asian countries have risen to dominate the Olympiads over the last few decades. Germany, for example, has now been forced out of the top 20, after having ranked number one in 1989, 1988 and 1982. Hungary, with a population only 1/8th the size of Germany's, still managed a 23rd place finish; while respectable, that's a drop from the 1st or 2nd place glory it enjoyed in the 1960s and early 70s. Remarkably, Singapore, an even smaller country with fewer than 6 million inhabitants (half the population of Hungary), ranked 5th place.

An analysis of Team USA's performance from 1993 to the present shows a steady improvement in average ranking, from approximately 6th to 2nd or 3rd place behind China in recent years. Increased competition in the global marketplace has driven students to distinguish themselves through excellence in academic competition.

"In most other countries, the government funds Olympiad programs, including training and other resources for teachers and students," DiGennaro says, "but that is not the case in the U.S. China is pouring resources into these competitions, and that can be a significant advantage for China beyond the Olympiads. It's important to note that China is also investing heavily in innovation, like R&D, an effort that has declined in Europe."

The CEE Index of Excellence in STEM Education measures educational performance at the highest levels of international academic competition. The CEE Index analyzes individual student rankings in each of five STEM-related Olympiad competitions; generates averages and rankings by participating country; and compares overall Olympiad performance by country.

More details are available at

Tom Flavell
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