Just read a great post from Tony Forster who has a look at some interesting data comparing literacy/numeracy scores and problem solving scores from different countries. After looking at the stats, Tony offers this analysis:
Australia, New Zealand and Canada score significantly higher than USA despite sharing similar cultural backgrounds. I have noticed a significant difference, USA educators are more focussed on the transfer of knowledge than the development of problem solving skills through self-directed, problem based learning.
In an interesting exercise, Tony did some Googling of key words to back up his observations. Read the whole post for the total picture but for me, it highlights the danger of Australian education authorities taking their lead from US strategies and drawing conclusions and looking for solutions to our own issues from a wealth of US education data available online. We shouldn't always assume that US-centric educational practices are the best, especially in the K-12 sector.