Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Another PISA Fail

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) sponsors testing in 70 nations via its Programme for International Student Assessment, known as PISA. They test every three years, and the results from 2012 are just out now. In our defense, we educate all our children, who are anything but homogeneous. Nevertheless, we haven't improved an iota in years. I heard someone on the news this morning claiming that this proves the reform agenda isn't working. But implementation of the Common Core has just begun. We'd need to check back in about 9–12 years to see whether our 15-year-olds' scores had improved. Given typical trends in U.S. education, we won't be given 9–12 years and will be on to something new before we have a chance to witness change.

I like the way PISA has pulled out certain states to make a point about achievement. Why Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Florida were selected, I do not know. In general, MA and CT did better than the national average, and FL did worse, which I could have predicted without the data.

When I try to argue in favor of the Common Core State Standards, I usually pull out two points: PISA scores unbecoming a world power and NAEP scores that indicate significant disparity among states in terms of student achievement. This report illustrates both.

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