Public Release: 

Multinational comparison of computer science graduates

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

A study assesses the quality of computer science (CS) graduates internationally. Increasing global demand for computing professionals has driven rapid expansion in undergraduate CS programs. How the quality of CS graduates varies across countries, program types, and background characteristics remains poorly understood. Prashant Loyalka and colleagues used a standardized test to assess the CS-specific knowledge and skills of more than 8,000 final-year CS undergraduates in China, India, Russia, and the United States. The four countries produce approximately half of the world's STEM graduates. The mean US student's score was 0.76-0.88 standard deviations higher than the mean scores of students from the other countries, and similar to the mean scores of students from the other countries' elite programs, representing the top 21%, 4%, and 26% of students in China, India, and Russia, respectively. Students from elite programs in the United States, representing the top 19% of students, scored 0.85 standard deviations higher on average than students from the other countries' elite programs. Excluding international students from the US sample did not affect the US advantage over other countries. Males scored moderately but consistently higher than females in all four countries. The results could help policymakers and administrators improve the quality of CS undergraduate programs, according to the authors.


Article #18-14646: "Computer science skills across China, India, Russia, and the United States," by Prashant Loyalka et al.

MEDIA CONTACT: Prashant Loyalka, Stanford University, CA; tel: 573-289-7470; e-mail:; Lydia Liu, Educational Testing Service, Princeton, NJ; tel: 609-734-1049; e-mail:

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