Re: Are American Students Behind?

by Robert VerBruggen

Last month, I wrote about the idea that the U.S. falls behind other countries in test-score comparisons not because of educational quality, but because of demographics. I offered a way to test this idea:

I would like to see a truly apples-to-apples comparison, though the data would be rather difficult to collect. I’d like to see the students broken down by their countries (not merely continents) of ancestry, and their scores compared with those of students from their ancestral homelands. Do Americans of German ancestry score better than modern Germans? What about Finnish Americans?

The blog Super-Economy has done something very close to that. The result? “Once we correct (even crudely) for demography in the 2009 PISA scores, American students outperform Western Europe by significant margins and tie with Asian student[s].”