What do international tests really show about U.S. student performance?


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By Martin Carnoy, Stanford Graduate School of Education and EPI
and Richard Rothstein, EPI

Executive summary

Education policymakers and analysts express great concern about the performance of U.S. students on international tests. Education reformers frequently invoke the relatively poor performance of U.S. students to justify school policy changes.

In December 2012, the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) released national average results from the 2011 administration of the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan promptly issued a press release calling the results “unacceptable,” saying that they “underscore the urgency of accelerating achievement in secondary school and the need to close large and persistent achievement gaps,” and calling particular attention to the fact that the 8th-grade scores in mathematics for U.S. students failed to improve since the previous administration of the TIMSS.

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MORE: Authors’ response to OECD/PISA reaction to this report (PDF)

Publications by Richard Rothstein

International tests show achievement gaps in all countries, with big gains for U.S. disadvantaged students

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What do international tests really show about U.S. student performance?

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What do international tests really show about U.S. student performance?

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May 15, 2012 | By Richard Rothstein | Blog

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Publications by Martin Carnoy

International tests show achievement gaps in all countries, with big gains for U.S. disadvantaged students

January 15, 2013 | By Martin Carnoy and Richard Rothstein | Blog

What do international tests really show about U.S. student performance?

January 15, 2013 | By Martin Carnoy and Richard Rothstein | Report

What do international tests really show about U.S. student performance?

January 10, 2013 | By Richard Rothstein and Martin Carnoy

Vouchers and Public School Performance: A Case Study of the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program

October 2, 2007 | By Martin Carnoy, Amita Chudgar, and Frank Adamson | Book

Alternative is no solution—On average, charter students don’t do better than public counterparts

October 4, 2005 | By Lawrence Mishel and Martin Carnoy | Commentary

The Charter School Dust-Up: Examining the evidence on enrollment and achievement

April 4, 2005 | By Martin Carnoy, Rebecca Jacobsen, Lawrence Mishel, and Richard Rothstein | Multimedia

Vouchers Are No Cure-All For Short-Changed Schools

March 4, 2002 | By Martin Carnoy | Commentary

Bush’s Voucher Plan Gets Failing Grade

March 4, 2002 | By Martin Carnoy | Commentary

School Vouchers: Examining the Evidence – EPI Book

May 1, 2001 | By Martin Carnoy | Book

Can Public Schools Learn From Private Schools? (EPI book)

September 1, 1999 | By Richard Rothstein, Martin Carnoy, and Luis Benveniste | Book

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