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December 12, 2012

Numbers Can Lie: What TIMSS and PISA Truly Tell Us, if Anything?

´╗┐Yong Zhao:

"America's Woeful Public Schools: TIMSS Sheds Light on the Need for Systemic Reform"[1]

"Competitors Still Beat U.S. in Tests"[2]

"U.S. students continue to trail Asian students in math, reading, science"[3]

These are a few of the thousands of headlines generated by the release of the 2011 TIMSS and PIRLS results today. Although the results are hardly surprising or news worthy, judging from the headlines, we can expect another global wave of handwringing, soul searching, and calls for reform. But before we do, we should ask how meaningful these scores and rankings are.

"Numbers don't lie," many may say but what truth do they tell? Look at the following numbers:

Valerie Strauss has more.

Posted by Jim Zellmer at December 12, 2012 7:59 PM
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Finland in 1999 tested 7th grade math students and their score was 520. In 2011 they tested 8th grade students and their score was 514. They also tested 7th grade students in 2011 and their score was 482. They likely changed the curriculum somewhat so are teaching less in 7th grade now than in 1999, but these results do not suggest that Finland has learned much if anything about their math education problems.

Posted by: Richard Askey at December 13, 2012 12:30 PM
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