U.S. is average — except in inequality

The U.S. education system is ahead of the pack in one category — inequality — notes Education Trust in its analysis of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) results.

Compared to other developed countries, the United States has the fifth largest gap between low-income students and their more affluent classmates. In reading, for example, students attending our high-poverty high schools performed 24 percent below those from higher income schools.

. . . Many of the countries at the top of the performance rankings – Canada, Finland, and Korea, for example – rank noticeably at the bottom of the list measuring the size of socioeconomic-status (SES) gaps.

Low-SES students in the U.S. don’t do as well as similar students in other countries, such as New Zealand.

U.S. students who are white and Asian students perform about as well in reading, math, and science as the average student in high-performing countries like Canada and Japan, Education Trust reports. But our Latino students are at the same level as Turkey and Dubai, while black students are on a par with students in Serbia and Bulgaria.

The recent ACT report, which looked at whether students can meet the new Common Core Standards, also found massive achievement gaps. In reading, 47 percent of white eleventh-graders reach the standard, compared with 19 percent of Hispanic and 11 percent of blacks. In algebra, 41 percent of white high school juniors, 21 percent of Hispanics and 11 percent of blacks are meet the standard.

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