From the NYT, 28 Aug 2015:
1 Jenny wants to rent a truck for one day. She contacted two companies. Laguna’s Truck Rentals charges $20 plus $2 per mile. Salvatori’s Truck Rentals charges $3 per mile. After how many miles will the total cost for both companies be the same?
2 What is the value of n in the diagram below?
3 Triangle M is similar to triangle N. Triangle M has two angles with measures of 32° and 93°. Which two angle measures could be included in triangle N?

A: 32° and 58°

B: 32° and 74°

C: 93° and 55°

D: 93° and 87°
4 A cone has a radius of 1.2 inches and a height of 2.9 inches. What is the volume, to the nearest tenth of a cubic inch, of the cone?

A: 3.6

B: 4.4

C: 10.6

D: 13.1
5An aboveground swimming pool in the shape of a cylinder has a diameter of 18 feet and a height of 4.5 feet. If the pool is filled with water to 6 inches from the top of the pool, what is the volume, to the nearest cubic foot, of the water in the pool?

A: 226

B: 452

C: 1,018

D: 4,072
Read the original article.
I think the idea of the article is for readers to say ‘These 8th graders are seriously underachieving’, and then find out they themselves lack basic Maths competence.
And I think the same applies in the UK, and it is a very significant issue, not least from an economic perspective.
GCSE is intended to define, roughly, the level of Maths which most people should have. But most adults have nowhere near this level of achievement (evidence – ask your nonMaths teacher colleagues what a quadratic equation is and how to solve it).
The GCSE passrate is quite high – but only because students are intensely prepared to get through the standard questions which they practice repeatedly. They have very little understanding, and it has nearly all gone a few weeks after the exam.
Schools should be graded according to the Maths competence of their former pupils at age 25.