What Do International Test Score Comparisons Mean?

Diane Ravitch's blog

Uh-oh! Another study has appeared warning that we are falling behind other nations on international standardized tests.

The National Assessment Governing Board released the results of a study comparing the performance of U.S. states to nations that participated in the 2011 TIMSS.

Students in most US states were above the international average but the nations known for their test-taking culture dominated the results. That is, the top performing nations were Singapore, Korea, Chinese Taipei, and Japan.

The usual hand-wringers were wringing their hands about how awful we were, how terribly we compare to those at the top.

The reporters from the New York Times and the Washington Post tried to reach me but I was at an all-day event in Vermont-New Hampshire and did not see their messages.

If I had responded, I would have said this: International test scores do not predict the economic future. Once a nation is…

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