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2012 Test Scores Show No U.S. Student Improvement

December 04, 2013

Initiated in 2000, the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) is an international standardized test that measures and compares test scores from students all over the world. Currently, 65 countries worldwide participate in PISA. This program randomly selects and tests 510,000 15-year-old students worldwide every three years in the subjects of math, science, and reading.

Although sometimes criticized, and admittedly not perfect, PISA is one of many educational studies conducted over the past couple of decades that continue to show a flattening in American student test scores. The 2012 recently published PISA test scores show zero improvement from American student test scores in 2009.

While American student test scores have flat-lined, many other countries have shown strong improvement. For the first time, students from Poland, Vietnam, Austria, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Latvia and Luxembourg, have scored higher in math compared to the United States. In math, the United States is currently rated 36th out of 65 countries having dropped 5 spots since 2009. In science, the United States is currently rated 28th out of 65 countries having also dropped 5 spots since 2009. In reading, the United States is currently rated 24th out of 65 countries having dropped 7 spots since 2009.

The complete summary of the 2012 PISA test score results can be found here.

The 2012 PISA test results are simply one more piece of evidence that points to the failure of America’s public school system in improving student performance. Despite spending $115,000 per student, the United States received the same test scores as the Slovak Republic who spends $53,000 per student. Increased levels of federal government spending through programs like No Child Left Behind Act and Race To The Top, is simply not working.

More government spending and regulation is not education reform. As Americans for Prosperity Foundation has highlighted, real education reform includes school choice, state and local flexibility, pay for performance standards, and teacher evaluation centered on value based modeling.

The complete summary of AFPF’s position on education reform can be found here.

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