American kids “in the middle” on PISA science? How big is that middle again?

Daniel Willingham:

My Facebook feed today has lots of links to this article. The upshot: a new Pew study showing that Americans think that US 15 year olds rank “near the bottom” on international science tests, whereas the truth is that they “rank in the middle among developed countries.”
I guess “the middle” covers a lot of terrain, but the way I look at the data, this assertion doesn’t hold.
The international comparison in question is the 2009 PISA. Here are the rankings. (Click for larger image)