This edition of EPIGraph utilizes data from the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA). If anything, this chart illustrates the relatively poor standing of the United States in terms of mathematic dominance. While the OECD average mathematics literacy score is 494, the US comes in below average at 481. By comparison, Canada's average is 518 and Shanghai-China is an astounding 613. In fact, the top seven scores in this chart are all Asian-based countries.
Of course, average scores tend to cover other factors, and to be fair, some US states rank in the top half of the distribution. For instance, Massachusetts scored, on average, 514, and Connecticut 506. Certainly mathematics, alone, is not a complete indicator of the education level of a country, but it can be argued that mathematics does correlate with potential for R&D work.
Average mathematics literacy scores of 15-year-old students and percentage attaining mathematics literacy proficiency levels, by country or other education system: 2012
SOURCE: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), 2012. (Chart prepared by Educational Policy Institute). (http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d14/tables/dt14_602.60.asp)