Achievement

Middle Class Students Trail Peers Abroad. Paul Peterson. Education Next, 13(3). 2013.

In an important new report, America Achieves tells us that middle-class students in the United States are trailing their peers abroad. U.S. students were significantly outperformed by peers in 24 countries in math, if one looks only at those who fall just above the median position on its index of social and educational “advantage.” Among those who fall just below the index median, U.S. students ranked 32nd.

Revelations from the TIMSS. Paul Peterson. Education Next, 13(2). Spring 2013.

Over the past two decades, gains of 1.6 percent of a standard deviation have been garnered annually by 4th- and 8th-grade students on the math, science, and reading tests administered by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), known as the nation’s report card. An upward trajectory of 1.6 standard deviations cumulates over 20 years to 32 percent of a standard deviation, well over a year’s worth of learning.

Running in Place: Americans are learning more but are not catching up to the rest of the world. Paul Peterson. Education Next, 12(4). Fall 2012.

The United States’ failure to educate its students leaves them unprepared to compete and threatens the country’s ability to thrive in a global economy, ” claims a task force sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations chaired by former New York City schools chancellor Joel I. Klein and former U.S. secretary of state Condoleezza Rice.

Is the U.S. catching up? International and state trends in student achievement. Eric A. Hanushek, Ludger Woessmann, Paul Peterson. Education Next, 12(4), 24-33. Fall 2012.

“The United States’ failure to educate its students leaves them unprepared to compete and threatens the country’s ability to thrive in a global economy.” Such was the dire warning issued recently by an education task force sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations. Chaired by former New York City schools chancellor Joel I. Klein and former U.S. secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, the task force said the country “will not be able to keep pace—much less lead—globally unless it moves to fix the problems it has allowed to fester for too long.” Along much the same lines, President Barack Obama, in his 2011 State of the Union address, declared, “We need to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world.”

Achievement Growth: International and U.S. State Trends in Student Performance. Eric A. Hanushek, Paul E. Peterson, Ludger Woessmann. PEPG 12-03. 2012.

To find out the extent of U.S. progress toward closure of the international education gap, we provide estimates of learning gains over the period between 1995 and 2009 for the United States and 48 other countries from much of the developed and some of the newly developing parts of the world. We also examine changes in student performance in 41 states within the United States, allowing us to compare these states with each other as well as with the 48 other countries.

Not All Teachers Are Made of Ticky-Tacky, Teaching Just the Same: The true import of the Chetty study. Paul Peterson. Education Next, 12(3). Summer 2012.

We know a good teacher can increase the lifetime income of a classroom by over $250,000,” the president told the country in his State of the Union speech. His comment was based on a pioneering study by Chetty, Friedman, and Rockoff, published in this issue (see “Great Teaching,” Research), which for the first time combines tax data that reveal earnings at age 28 with information on student learning when that
person was in elementary school.

Neither Broad Nor Bold: A narrow-minded approach to school reform. Paul Peterson. Education Next, 12(3), 38-43. Summer 2012.

Children raised in families with higher incomes score higher on math and reading tests. That is no less true in the Age of Obama than it was in the Age of Pericles or, for that matter, in the Age of Mao. But is parental income the cause of a child’s success? Or is the connection between income and achievement largely a symptom of something else: genetic heritage, parental skill, or a supportive educational setting?

The International Experience: What U.S. school can and cannot learn from other countries. Paul Peterson. Education Next, 12(1), 52-59. 2012.

Undoubtedly, the United States has much to learn from education systems in other countries. Once the world’s education leader, the U.S. has seen the percentage of its high-school students who are proficient trail that of 31 other countries in math and 16 countries in reading, according to a recent study by Harvard’s Program on Education Policy and Governance (PEPG) (see “Are U.S. Students Ready to Compete?” features, Fall 2011). Whereas only 32 percent of U.S.

Are U.S. students ready to compete? The latest on each state’s international standing. Paul Peterson, Carlos Xabel Lastra-Anadón, Eric A. Hanushek, Ludger Woessmann. Education Next, 11(4), 51-59. Fall 2011.

At a time of persistent unemployment, especially among the less skilled, many wonder whether our schools are adequately preparing students for the 21st-century global economy. Despite high unemployment rates, firms are experiencing shortages of educated workers, outsourcing professional-level work to workers abroad, and competing for the limited number of employment visas set aside for highly skilled immigrants. As President Barack Obama said in his 2011 State of the Union address, “We know what it takes to compete for the jobs and industries of our time.

It’s Easier to Pick a Good Teacher Than To Train One: Familiar and new results on the correlates of teacher effectiveness. Matthew M. Chingos, Paul E. Peterson. Economics of Education Review, 30(1), 449-465. 2011.

Neither holding a college major in education nor acquiring a master's degree is correlated with elementary and middle school teaching effectiveness, regardless of the university at which the degree was earned. Teachers generally do become more effective with a few years of teaching experience, but we also find evidence that teachers may become less effective with experience, particularly later in their careers.

Globally Challenged: Are U. S. Students Ready to Compete?. Paul Peterson, Ludger Woessmann, Eric A. Hanushek, Carlos Xabel Lastra-Anadón. PEPG 11-03. 2011.

At a time of persistent unemployment, especially among the less skilled, many wonder whether our schools are adequately preparing students for the 21st-century global economy. Despite high unemployment rates, firms are experiencing shortages of educated workers, outsourcing professional-level work to workers abroad, and competing for the limited number of employment visas set aside for highly skilled immigrants. As President Barack Obama said in his 2011 State of the Union address, “We know what it takes to compete for the jobs and industries of our time.

Teaching Math to the Talented: Which countries - and states - are producing high-achieving students?. Eric A. Hanushek, Paul E. Peterson, Ludger Woessmann. Education Next, 11(1), 10-18. Winter 2011.

In Vancouver last winter, the United States proved its competitive spirit by winning more medals—gold, silver, and bronze—at the Winter Olympic Games than any other country, although the German member of our research team insists on pointing out that Canada and Germany both won more gold medals than the United States. But if there is some dispute about which Olympic medals to count, there is no question about American math performance: the United States does not deserve even a paper medal.

U.S. Math Performance in Global Perspective: How well does each state do at producing high-achieving students?. Eric A. Hanushek, Paul E. Peterson, Ludger Woessmann. PEPG 10-19. 2010.

Maintaining our innovative edge in the world depends importantly on developing a highly qualified cadre of scientists and engineers. To realize that objective requires a system of schooling that produces students with advanced math and science skills. To see how well the U.S. as a whole, each state, and certain urban districts do at producing high-achieving math students, the percentage of U.S.

State Standards Rise in Reading, Fall in Math. Paul Peterson, Carlos Xabel Lastra-Anadón. Education Next, 10(4), 12-16. Fall 2010.

Much ado has been made about setting high standards over the past year. In his first major address on education policy, given just two months after he took the oath of office, President Barack Obama put the issue on the national agenda.