Based on standardized testing, the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) survey ranks countries and their success in educating K-12 students. We hear a lot about these rankings when they come out—I’ve heard/seen three news reports in the last week.
Here’s a wonderfully concise summary of what the PISA study measures and its findings: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0D-JpL5fFgc.
See more on international findings here: http://tinyurl.com/2ax2f7n.
Or NCES for U.S. specific findings: http://tinyurl.com/2wv5e6h.