PARIS : Chinese students far outstripped peers in every other country in a survey of reading, mathematics and science ability, underscoring a reserve of future economic strength and the struggle of advanced economies to keep up.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD’s) triennial study of 15 year-old students across the world found that the four Chinese provinces tested—Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang—outperformed in science and mathematics, even if household income is well below members’ average.

In reading, the 10% most disadvantaged Chinese students tested had better skills than the OECD average.

On average, 12% of the variation in student reading performance within each country was associated with socioeconomic status. In several European countries, including France and Germany, that measure rises above 17%.

“The quality of their schools today will feed into the strength of their economies tomorrow," OECD secretary general Angel Gurria said.