For around a decade, I’ve been chipping away at the conventional wisdom that PISA international school test scores show education in America is bad by pointing out that America’s various racial groups tend to score fairly well on the PISA test. Finally, Bloomberg creates their own version of my graph, although their spin appears to be about how we’re failing blacks again. Or something.
‘E Pluribus Unum’ Is a Cruel Mirage
A comparison with global development indicators suggests that Americans of different races inhabit all but separate countries.
By Ben Schott
July 13, 2020, 4:00 AM PDT
Same country, same pledge, different destinies.
Anyone who navigates America’s socioeconomic data is accustomed to charts that break out the country’s general population into its component racial and ethnic groups.
More often than not, the disparities illustrated are startling. …
The United States ranked 13th out of 76 international education systems in reading literacy, according to the latest (2018) triennial survey of 15-year-olds’ educational abilities by the OECD’s Program for International Student Assessment.
PISA defines reading literacy as “students’ capacity to understand, use, evaluate, reflect on, and engage with texts in order to achieve one’s goals; develop one’s knowledge and potential; and participate in society” — all of which are clearly prerequisites for advancement in a highly technical world.
However, as the chart below demonstrates, international comparisons with the U.S. cohort are striking. U.S. Asian students topped the global ranking — outperforming even Singapore and China (as represented by the provinces Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang). In contrast, U.S. Black students, ranking between Chile and Serbia, were 39 points below the OECD average, and 108 points below U.S. Asian students. These figures are even more remarkable if you consider that just 215 points differentiate the highest-scoring country, China (555), and the lowest, the Philippines (340).
In reality, Americans tend to do about as well as or outscore their racial ancestors in their homelands. However, very few black countries have ever bothered to take PISA, but we know from a variety of tests in black countries that American blacks score pretty well.