Did you read about this? It's easy to dismiss international comparisons because the cultures are so different. But don't miss this last paragraph: "
“This is the first time that we have internationally comparable data on learning outcomes in China,” Mr. Schleicher said. “While that’s important, for me the real significance of these results is that they refute the commonly held hypothesis that China just produces rote learning. Large fractions of these students demonstrate their ability to extrapolate from what they know and apply their knowledge very creatively in novel situations."
Too often, we think rigor is harder work, or more work, or memorizing more facts. That cannot be the point. Rigor is about challenging students to think at higher levels, to truly be able to solve problems, think creatively, and apply factual information to new situations. Those are the skills that will lead us to higher levels in all comparisons. Is that what rigor is in your school?