There’s an interesting short article at “EducationNext” U.S. Performance on PISA: The Rest of the Story by Michael Petrilli discussing the recent Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) results. We’ve pasted a few of the more interesting excerpts below, but you may read the full article online Here.
In raw numbers, the United States produces many more high-achieving students than any other OECD nation. In both reading and math, the U.S. produces more high achievers than France, Germany, and the United Kingdom combined. (This is of course due to our large size—but explains why Americans continue to dominate prestigious universities, leading corporations, etc.).
- In both reading and math, the U.S. produces more low achievers than France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom combined.
- Approximately 50 percent of black American students are low-achieving in math—a higher proportion of students than is found in any OECD country save Chile and Mexico. In reading, only Mexico does worse.
And a few interesting tidbits:
- In both reading and math, in raw numbers, the United States produces more high-achieving Hispanic students than Asian students.
- In both reading and math, the U.S. produces about the same number of low-achieving white students as low-achieving black students.
What to make of these findings? First, it’s obvious that America’s size alone makes it the major player at both ends of the achievement spectrum: Our top students outnumber high achievers in all other OECD countries—but our worst performers outnumber their peers in other countries, too.
To be blunt: We’re big. Of course, so are China and India, and when they starting [sic] taking the PISA exam we might discover that their high-achieving students outnumber ours many times over.