PISA: U.S. Students Score Low in Math, Science – Stats and Studies, 12/9/2013

American 15-year-olds continue to score below their international peers in math, reading and science according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The results of their 2012 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) looked at 510,000 students in 34 developed countries. Among those countries, the United States ranked 26th in math, 21st in science and 17th in reading, showing little change from previous PISA tests. Notably, Shanghai ranked first in math – an estimated three grade levels above average.

The International News Safety Institute and the International Women’s Media Foundation released a report that found 64% of female journalists experience “intimidation, threats or abuse” at work.

Mark Zuckerberg’s Startup: Education and the Gates Foundation will give a $9 million grant to San Francisco-based nonprofit EducationSuperHighway to improve Internet connectivity in schools by providing technical expertise and using competition to drive down the cost of broadband.

The Federal Communications Commission announced that over $255 million from the Connect America Fund will be used to provide broadband access to 400,000 homes and businesses in rural areas of 41 states.

With the launch of Health.gov providing a backdrop, Freedman Consulting, in a report commissioned by the MacArthur and Ford Foundations, released a set of policy recommendations for improving the caliber of tech expertise available to government and non-profit organizations. The report promotes tactics for improving the pipeline of workers with the appropriate skill sets, reducing barriers to retention and recruitment and other areas of improvement.

Netflix is gaining on cable in its popularity among young adults ages 18-36, according to Harris Interactive. While 46% of these consumers chose cable, 43% are Netflix subscribers. Nielsen’s Q3 cross-platform report also shows a slight decrease in live television viewing compared to Q3 2012, while time-shifted viewing, including DVR and video-on-demand, is up nearly 15 percent. However, traditional television still reigns supreme, occupying nearly 44 percent of overall video media viewing in the U.S.

Research firm IDC reports China surpassed Japan to become the world’s second largest IT company after the U.S. IT market, which is three times the size of China’s. “China’s overall IT spending is projected to hit $204 billion in 2014, versus $686 billion in the U.S., said Gens. U.S. IT spending grew 4.7 percent in 2013, and is forecast to rise by 3.8 percent next year. China’s IT spending will increase by $25 billion in 2014, the same dollar increase as in the U.S.”, infoWorld noted.

Adobe Systems, which tracks activity on more than 2,000 retail websites, reported a record year for so-called “Cyber Monday”, the Monday after Thanksgiving during which holiday shoppers take advantage of online sales. According to Adobe, Cyber Monday sales were up by 16% compared to last year, to $2.29 billion. In a pair of separate reports, Branding Brands data showed that visits to 46 mobile-optimized sites for major retailers saw a 69 percent increase in visits over Thanksgiving 2012, and a 258 percent increase in sales, as well as a 75.65 percent increase in visits and a 186.54 percent increase in sales over Black Friday 2012.

comScore reports that Apple remained the top U.S. smartphone manufacturer in October, with a 41% share of the market. However, Android still remained the top operating system, with a 52% share of the market. Apple’s iOS operating system came in second with a 41% share.

comScore and J.P. Morgan report that Twitter is the leading social media platform among young users ages 18-34.  The widest gap was among 18-24 year olds, with Twitter commanding an 18.2% share in that demographic, compared to 14.1% for second-place Facebook.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee announced that they will be re-writing the Communications Act, created in 1934 and last updated in 1996.

The U.S. Department of Justice has approved a deal that will allow Microsoft to acquire Nokia’s mobile devices and services business.

Professors at Davidson College are developing online Advanced Placement course lessons for high school students.

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