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Education

Germany scores 'average' in OECD reading, math test

German adults score around average in reading and math skills, a study released by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation (OECD) has shown. The test compared basic skill levels among adults in 24 countries.

The OECD published the results of its first test which assessed basic reading, math and computer skills among 16-65 year olds on Tuesday. The report, titled "Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies" (PIACC), compared results from 166,000 participants in 24 of the world's most important industrial nations.

Compared to other countries, Germany was found to have the greatest disparities in education levels based on the parents' social background.

"In hardly any other country is reading competency so strongly dependent on the education level of parents as it is [here in Germany)," the reports authors wrote.

The 5,400 German participants showed average reading comprehension skills in comparison to the other nations surveyed. Of the German adults tested, 15.5 percent could only understand short texts with simple vocabulary.

In math skills, Germans scored slightly above average.

Computer literacy posed the greatest problem for most of the test takers. Among German participants, one in ten did not know how to use a computer mouse. Of those who could use a computer, just over a third could complete a multi-stepped problem-solving task online.

Adults from Japan and Finland took the top spots in all sections, with Italy and Spain showing some of the lowest results in Europe.

The OECD's best known scholastic test - the Programme for International student Assessment (PISA) - surveys education systems across the world by testing reading, math and science skills among 15 year olds.

kms/jr (AFP, Reuters, dpa)