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More than a Horse Race: A guide to international tests of student achievement: 

More than a Horse Race: A guide to international tests of student achievement How the United States compares to other countries and what we can learn from the results Federal Relation Network Annual Conference, January 30, 2007

Losing Our Edge: 

Losing Our Edge U.S. 4th and 8th graders still lag many peers New York Times, December 15, 2004 February 13, 2006

A Manufactured Crisis: 

A Manufactured Crisis The U.S. has won over 50% of the Nobel Prices in science since 1950 Phi Delta Kappan, December 2006

Fact or fiction: 

Fact or fiction International comparisons are unfair since most other countries educate (and, therefore, test) only the best students while the United States educates and tests all its students. Fiction:  This charge was once true, but since the 1990s, this is no longer the case, especially in developed countries.

Fact or fiction: 

Fact or fiction The rankings of overall average scores for each country do not show the full picture of each country’s education achievement. Fact Meaningful rankings are based on statistical significance. For example, a straight numeric ranking on PISA shows the U.S. at 15th out of 27 countries in reading. In truth, only 3 countries scored significantly higher.

Fact or fiction: 

Fact or fiction International assessments are not accurate measures of school effectiveness. Partly fact. Not all international assessments are designed to measure school effectiveness. For example, PISA tests real-world skills, while TIMSS is aligned to curriculum. Even so, studies have found a strong correlation between PISA and TIMSS, so both tests provide some indication about the educational systems.

Fact or fiction: 

Fact or fiction International assessments provide little to no information about how to improve the quality of education in the United States. Fiction. International assessments provide a wealth of information in addition to test scores, including courses students have taken, instruction, years in school, length of school year, class size, and others.

How does U.S. achievement compare to other countries?: 

How does U.S. achievement compare to other countries?

International Assessments: 

International Assessments Program for International Reading Literacy (PIRLS) Trends in International Math and Science Study (TIMSS) Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) Adult Literacy Skills and Life Skills Survey

Program for International Reading Literacy (PIRLS): 

Program for International Reading Literacy (PIRLS) Assess 4th graders’ Reading Literacy Reading for Literary Experience Reading for Information Surveys students, teachers, and principals

Trends in International Math and Science Study (TIMSS): 

Trends in International Math and Science Study (TIMSS) Assess 4th and 8th graders Math and Science Measures how much of the curriculum a student has learned Surveys students, teachers, and principals

Programme for International Student Achievement (PISA): 

Programme for International Student Achievement (PISA) Assess 15 year-olds Reading, Math, and Science Literacy Measures how effectively a student can apply their knowledge to real world problems Surveys students and principals

Adult Literacy Skills and Lifeskills Survey (ALL): 

Adult Literacy Skills and Lifeskills Survey (ALL) Assess adults 16 to 65 years-old - Literacy and Numeracy Participants also fill out an extensive questionnaire to obtain background information

What the Assessments have in Common: 

What the Assessments have in Common Samples are nationally representative of all students/adults within the target age group or grade. Incorporate open-ended questions to better measure critical thinking and problem solving skills Are developed and tested by international experts to ensure quality and fairness Results are comparable over time Results are given in scale scores and achievement levels.

How do U.S. students compare?: 

How do U.S. students compare?

How do U.S. students compare?: 

How do U.S. students compare? U.S. students are good readers compared to many of their peers across the globe Our math performance is mediocre Science is a mixed bag: younger students are above the international average, but older students are below it The U.S. gap between affluent and poor students is about the international average

Statistical Significance: 

Statistical Significance Difference in scores is statistically meaningful and did not happen by chance

Reading: 

Reading Results from: PIRLS 2001 PISA 2000 ALL 2003

How countries performed relative to the U.S in Reading: 

How countries performed relative to the U.S in Reading SOURCE: PIRLS 2001, PISA 2000, & ALL 2003 * Includes the International Average

Math: 

Math Results from: TIMSS 2003 PISA 2003 ALL 2003

How countries performed relative to the U.S in Math: 

How countries performed relative to the U.S in Math SOURCE: TIMSS 2003 and PISA 2003 * Includes the International Average

How does the U.S. compare in math?: 

How does the U.S. compare in math? SOURCE: American Institutes for Research, 2005

Science: 

Science Results from: TIMSS 2003 PISA 2003

How countries performed relative to the U.S in Science: 

How countries performed relative to the U.S in Science SOURCE: TIMSS 2003 and PISA 2003 * Includes the International Average

Are U.S. students falling behind students in other countries?: 

Are U.S. students falling behind students in other countries?

U.S. math performance 1995-2003 TIMSS: 

U.S. math performance 1995-2003 TIMSS Source: TIMSS 2003

U.S. science performance 1995-2003 TIMSS: 

U.S. science performance 1995-2003 TIMSS Source: TIMSS 2003

Achievement Gaps: 

Achievement Gaps Results from PISA 2003

What does it mean?: 

What does it mean?

So what does it all mean?: 

So what does it all mean? The sky isn’t falling, but we need to pay attention Our younger kids are mostly above the international average, but high schoolers fall below their peers Our 8th graders are improving but the achievement of our 4th graders and high schoolers is stagnant while other countries are pulling ahead

We’re not alone: 

We’re not alone Other countries, like states across the U.S., are struggling with many of the same issues We can learn from their experiences

What can be learned?: 

What can be learned?

What questions can the data help answer?: 

What questions can the data help answer? How the curriculum is set up in other countries How much instructional time students receive each year How teachers are prepared and certified Which instructional techniques teachers use How well students perform on subtopics within each subject

Learn more about this and other important topics at: The Center for Public Education: 

Learn more about this and other important topics at: The Center for Public Education www.centerforpubliceducation.org

For more info: Jim Hull Center for Public Education jhull@nsba.org 703-838-6758: 

For more info: Jim Hull Center for Public Education jhull@nsba.org 703-838-6758

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