Why American School Children Lag in Test Scores
From Arizona Daily Sun, December 31, 2019. Guest Editorial from The Los Angeles Times Editorial Board.
For those who are unfamiliar with it, PISA is the Program for International Student Assessment, a test administered to students in 79 countries around the world. It allows critics on both sides of the school reform debate to peer at the results of other nations, compare them to the U.S. outcomes and find examples that appear to confirm their own beliefs about why our 15-year-olds are not at the top of the heap in science, math and reading.
But if Finland, Singapore and South Korea are all doing better than we are, that suggests there may be a factor at play other than how we teach. And indeed there is something that all three of these nations, and every other country that outranks the United States on the PISA test, have in common: lower rates of child poverty. And poverty is a major factor in how well students perform on the tests.