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For too long, the results of tests of international competition have been the sole basis for ranking a country’s schools. But these closely watched tests fail to provide a complete picture. The latest Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) serves as a case in point.

Although Japan ‘s 15-year-olds scored high in science and math against their peers from around the world, they ranked 42nd among 47 participating countries or regions in “students’ satisfaction with life.” On a scale of zero to 10, they placed 6.8, which was below the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development average of 7.3.

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