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Book Review: "The Smartest Kids in the World"

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Amanda Ripley. The Smartest Kids in the World.  New York: Simon and Schuster, 2013. 306 pp. (199 pp. main text). Hardcover. $28.
On December 3, the Organisation for Economic Development and Cooperation (OECD) will release the results of the 2012 PISA test, which ranks countries based on the performance of 15-year olds around the world on assessment of reading, mathematics, and science skills.When the test was last administered in 2009, U.S. students ranked 17th overall, and a below-average 25th in math. At the top of the list were Shanghai, Korea, and Finland.
The following school year, 2010-2011, journalist Amanda Ripley, a frequent contributor to TheAtlantic, set out to discover how Korea and Finland had become educational powerhouses while the United States, despite a decade of educational reform under No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top, still languished in the middle of the pack. To tell her story, she enlisted three American exchange students bound for Finland, Korea, and…