Today the National Center for Education Statistics released a new report, U.S. States in a Global Context: Results From the 2011 NAEP-TIMSS Linking Study.
Researchers took state-level math and science scores from the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) tests and statistically “linked” them to scores on the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). This gives us a sense of how eighth-grade public school students in U.S. states compare to their counterparts in education systems throughout the world.
As one would expect, North Carolina performed well in math. For years, North Carolina public schools have beat national averages on NAEP mathematics tests. (Kinda makes you wonder why state education leaders would jettison standards and curricula that appeared to work well and adopt Common Core math standards.)
Here is how North Carolina fared in eighth-grade math:
- 5 education systems scored higher than North Carolina (South Korea, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, and Japan)
- 2 education systems scored comparable to North Carolina (Russia, Quebec)
- 40 education systems scored lower than North Carolina (Included Finland, England, Sweden, Norway…and Iran)
Here is how North Carolina fared in eighth-grade science:
- 6 education systems scored higher than North Carolina (Singapore, Chinese Taipei, South Korea, Japan, Finland, and Alberta)
- 9 education systems scored comparable to North Carolina (Included Slovenia, England, Hong Kong, Ontario, Quebec, and Australia)
- 32 education systems scored lower than North Carolina (Iran did not stand a chance)
Remember that these results are from 2011. Much has happened since then. North Carolina adopted Common Core math and reading standards, Republicans took control of the NC General Assembly, and we’ve expanded school choice.
One more thing. The linking study does not attempt to find relationships, causal or otherwise, between social, educational, or political factors and student performance. The truth is that we have little idea how or why some systems excel and some falter. Be wary of those who say they do.