Massachusetts in particular stands out, and four other states–Minnesota, New Jersey, New Hampshire, and Kansas–received grades of “B,” up there with the likes of Japan. On the flip side, there were a bunch of C’s and one D in, of course, Washington, DC, where fourth graders learn math at the same level as Ukraine.
This is useful information. International comparisons are often shot down on grounds of fundamental non-comparability. After all, Singapore and Hong Kong are tiny little bits of Asia that just happened to have been sequestered into autonomous political entities by the British because they were advantageously located for international commerce. Countries like Japan and Finland (which tops the PISA test but doesn’t participate in TIMSS) have unusually homogeneous populations and strong cultural ties among citizens as well as other beneficial non-education factors–strong social safety nets, low crime, school-oriented cultures, etc. They’re just not like us, the thinking goes, so it’s unreasonable to compare us to them.
. . . Massachusetts in particular, the highest performing state, is full of people from all manner of racial, ethnic, religious, and economic backgrounds.
If some states can do it, why not more?