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America's Computer Science Students Still the Best in the World

China, India and Russia have long sought to challenge America's advantage in computer science and have poured substantial resources into the effort. Researchers from UC Berkeley, the World Bank and the Education Testing Service decided to to see if the United States still retained its edge.

The researchers spent almost three years evaluating the skill levels of 8000 undergraduate seniors majoring in computer science at universities in China, Russia, India and America, four nations that graduate nearly half of all CS students. Their results were published yesterday in "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences" and US students came out on top, and not just by a little bit. "American students in average CS programs (as in, non-elite) performed as well as the elite Russian, Indian and Chinese students. When comparing top students from each country, U.S. students surged ahead of the pack. The findings were dramatic enough to even prove surprising to the study’s researchers, including Tara Beteille, who served as the team leader for the World Bank’s Technical Education Quality Improvement Project initiative with the Indian government."

“We hadn’t expected to see our elite colleges, not just India, but China and Russia, so far behind elite colleges in the U.S.,” Beteille told Inverse."

How has America retained its advantage? The researchers suggest that US students get a head start with some primary schools now offering coding classes as early as the fourth grade. And those "coding summer camps" just might be paying off too.


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