AMANDA RIPLEY’S BELIEVE IT BY LAW: Invention of “the Polish miracle!”

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2013

Part 2—Plus, the actual facts: Do Poland’s students achieve high scores on international tests?

Has Poland “scaled the heights of international test-score rankings in record time?” Do Polish students “handily surpass Americans’ mediocre performance” on such tests?

The answer to all those questions is no—unless you read the New York Times or the Washington Post. In those newspapers, a Polish miracle has now been invented by two journalists, one of whom ought to know better.

We expect little from Annie Murphy Paul, a climber of a familiar type who was allowed to invent this miracle in the New York Times last month. In the paper’s high-profile Book Review section, Paul was allowed to limn Amanda Ripley’s new book, The Smartest Kids in the World.

In that review, Paul invented a Polish miracle. This past Sunday, Jay Mathews followed suit in a high-profile review which led page one of the Washington Post’s Outlook section.

Mathews is a well-known education reporter, a recognized national figure. In a mildly rational country, he wouldn’t have written the things he wrote about Poland.

You don’t live in that country! You live in a country with novelized news, a country the most basic facts get rearranged to make preferred stories work better. This helps explain why Mathews and Paul have now invented a Polish miracle, in which the long-suffering Soviet client state has shot to the top of international rankings in basic academic skills.

Alas! At present, Poland hasn’t “scaled the heights of international test-score rankings” or done anything like that. Do its students “handily surpass Americans’ performance?”

Actually, no, they do not.

These basic facts aren’t very important in the vast sweep of things. American schools could be much better, whatever is happening in Poland.

But for today, let’s skip the state of American schools and discuss the state of something else. Let’s discuss the truly floundering state of American journalism.

What on earth led Mathews and Paul to make the statements they made in the Washington Post and the New York Times, two of our most famous newspapers?

In fact, their conduct is very common. In modern American culture, “journalists” routinely engage in this practice. Journalists routinely embellish or invent basic facts to create a more pleasing story, a story which will advance a Preferred Elite Belief or Perspective.

At present, one such Preferred Elite Belief involves the alleged breakdown of our schools, a breakdown which is often attributed to our ratty American teachers with their infernal unions. Inventing a miracle story from Poland, Mathews and Paul work in support of that tale.

What is the actual state of our schools? The state of our schools is complex! For today, though, let’s get clear on the actual facts about Poland. And let’s marvel again at the way our high-ranking “journalists” agree to invent bogus facts.

What are the facts about Polish test scores? For starters, the facts about Poland are these:

There are three major international testing programs in which many developed nations take part. Poland takes part in all three.

Poland on the PISA

We’ll start with the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), the only program Ripley cites in her highly selective book. Every three years, the PISA tests 15-year-old students in a wide range of countries in reading, math and science.

For PISA data, start here, then keep clicking.

The most recent PISA scores date from 2009. This is the testing program on which Polish kids have performed the best. But Poland was not at the top of the heap, or anywhere near it, on the 2009 PISA. Here is a sampling of scores from that year’s reading test:
Selected results, PISA reading, 2009:
Korea 539
Finland 536
Canada 524
New Zealand 521
Japan 520
Australia 515
Poland 500
United States 500

Germany 497
France 496
United Kingdom 494
OECD average 493
Korea and Finland led the pack. Poland was tied with the U.S., quite a ways back.

Poland did outscore the U.S. in math on the 2009 PISA, by a narrow margin. At this point, a claim should be noted—Rothstein and Carnoy have claimed that the PISA oversampled U.S. kids from low-income schools in 2009.

We don’t know if that claim is true. In the course of writing an entire book which is based solely on the PISA, Ripley didn’t mention, or attempt to resolve, this ongoing dispute:
Selected results, PISA math, 2009:
Korea 546
Finland 541
Japan 529
Canada 527
Germany 513
France 497
Poland 496
United Kingdom 492
United States 487
OECD average 496
Again, Poland is nowhere near Korea and Finland, though it does outscore the U.S. by a modest margin. The same pattern obtains on PISA science scores from that year:
PISA science, 2009:
Finland 554
Japan 539
Korea 538
Canada 529
Germany 520
United Kingdom 514
Poland 508
United States 502
France 498
OECD average 501
Those are the only data to which Ripley refers in her book. But if you read the New York Times last month, you were told, on the basis of these easily-accessible data, that Poland has “scaled the heights of international test-score rankings” and that Poland’s students “handily surpass Americans’ mediocre performance.”

Neither one of those claims is accurate, even if you restrict yourself to the PISA data. Where do people like Annie Murphy Paul come up with this low-IQ stuff?

Whatever! In assessing “the Polish miracle,” a serious journalist or author would want to look at the other international testing programs in which Poland takes part. We’ll do that for you now.

Poland on the TIMSS

Poland also takes part in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), an international program which tests fourth- and eighth-graders from various nations in science and math.

For TIMSS data, start here.

The most recent TIMSS results date from 2011. Poland took part in fourth grade only. These were the math results:
Selected results, TIMSS Grade 4 math, 2011
Korea 605
Taiwan 591
Japan 585
Finland 545
Great Britain 542
Russia 542
United States 541
Germany 528
Australia 516
Poland 481
Polish students did not “handily surpass Americans’ performance” on this test. The same pattern obtained in science:
Selected results, TIMSS Grade 4 science, 2011
Korea 587
Finland 570
Japan 559
Russia 552
Taiwan 552
United States 544
Great Britain 529
Germany 528
Italy 524
Australia 516
Poland 505
A note on the U.S. and Finland: In both fourth and eighth grade math, American students matched the performance of Finnish students on the 2011 TIMSS. Perhaps for that reason, TIMSS results tend to disappear when obedient children like Ripley and Paul write their fatuous articles and books, for which they are well rewarded.

That said, there's one more major international testing program in which many countries, including Poland, take part.

Poland on the PIRLS

Poland takes part in one other international testing program—the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS), which tests fourth graders in reading. The most recent testing occurred in 2011:
Selected results, PIRLS Grade 4 reading, 2011
Russia 568
Finland 568
United States 556
Taiwan 553
Great Britain 552
Canada 548
Germany 541
Australia 527
Poland 526
France 520
For PIRLS data, start here.

Annie Murphy Paul’s true belief to the side, Polish students did not “handily surpass Americans’ performance” on this test. On this test, Russia and Finland were the only two countries in the world which outscored American students.

What kinds of judgments can we reach from the results of these tests? That’s a complex question! But plainly, Poland has not “scaled the heights of international test-score rankings.” Its students do not “handily surpass Americans’ mediocre performance,” not even on the PISA, where Poland achieved its best scores.

Poland is emerging from decades in the Soviet orbit. We’ll assume that the country is doing good things in its public schools.

And no, Poland’s degree of success shouldn’t matter to Americans. Presumably, our schools could be better in many ways, no matter what may be happening in Krakow, Gdansk or Lodz.

But we’re not talking about American schools today. We’re talking about American journalism. What explains the way the Post and the Times invented those fabulous Polish test scores?

Simply put, Poland doesn’t have “high international test scores,” not even on the PISA. When it comes to the public schools, why do we read invented facts in so many high-profile organs?

Tomorrow: “The Polish miracle,” a phrase from Ripley’s book

30 comments:

  1. "why do we read invented facts in so many high-profile organs?"

    We read them because they are pleasing.

    They please the minds of editors and owners invested in certain "market-based" agendas for US education and the minds of readers who by now have swallowed whole certain false parables about the parlous state of US education.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Part 1

    Here's more from Amanda Ripley.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2013/10/the-case-against-high-school-sports/309447/

    In this article, Ripley suggests that sports are responsible for America's "international mediocrity in education." Sigh.

    Ripley complains about one particular New Jersey high school, writing that "only 17 percent of the school's juniors and seniors" take "at least one Advanced Placement test" but 50 percent play sports. The suggestion here is that Advanced Placement courses and tests are really, really important, and implicitly of high quality. Not true. As MIT noted, "there is ‘a growing body of research’ that students who earn top AP scores and place out of institute introductory courses end up having ‘difficulty’ when taking the next course." And Klopfenstein and Thomas (2010) find that when demographic characteristics (motivation, academic preparation, family background and high-school quality) are controlled for, the claims made for AP disappear. Is Ripley unaware of the last decade of research on AP, or does she simply refuse to tell readers?

    But this is the biggest and boldest lie that Ripley spins:

    " America has not found a way to dramatically improve its children’s academic performance over the past 50 years, but other countries have—and they are starting to reap the economic benefits."

    First, as Carnoy and Rothstein point out, "students from the most disadvantaged schools" are "over-represented" in the most recent PISA testing. And "A re-estimated U.S. average PISA score that adjusted for a student population" would raise "the U.S. average score to sixth in reading and 13th in math." Moreover, as Lyndsey Layton recently reported in the Washington Post, NAEP scores, "collected regularly since the 1970s...paint a picture of steady student achievement that contradicts the popular notion that U.S. educational progress has stalled." Again, does Ripley not know this? Or is she bound and determined to keep "the popular notion" – as wrong as it is – alive and well in the public's consciousness?

    And she gets paid to write this nonsense?





    ReplyDelete
  3. Part 2

    The common refrain among critics is that “reform” is necessary to “make America more competitive” in the global economy. Bill Gates says it. Jeb Bush says it. The U.S. Chamber of Chamber says it. The Business Roundtable resurrects the “rising tide of mediocrity” myth of A Nation at Risk, saying (falsely) that ““Since the release of A Nation at Risk in 1983, it has been increasingly clear that...academic expectations for American students have not been high enough.” Arne Duncan, a pathetic excuse for an educational “leader,” parrots what they say. So does Amanda Ripley.

    As I continue to point out, the U.S. already IS internationally competitive.

    The World Economic Forum ranks nations each year on competitiveness. It uses "a highly comprehensive index" of the "many factors" that enable "national economies to achieve sustained economic growth and long-term prosperity."

    The U.S. is usually in the top five (if not 1 or 2). When it drops, the WEF doesn’t cite education, but stupid economic decisions and policies.

    For example, when the U.S. dropped from 2nd to 4th in 2010-11, four factors were cited by the WEF for the decline: (1) weak corporate auditing and reporting standards, (2) suspect corporate ethics, (3) big deficits (brought on by Wall Street’s financial implosion) and (4) unsustainable levels of debt.

    
Last year (2011-12), major factors cited by the WEF are a “business community” and business leaders who are “critical toward public and private institutions,” a lack of trust in politicians and the political process with a lack of transparency in policy-making, and “a lack of macroeconomic stability” caused by decades of fiscal deficits especially deficits and debt accrued over the last decade that “are likely to weigh heavily on the country’s future growth.”

    And this year (2012-13) the WEF dropped the U.S. to 7th place, citing problems like “increasing inequality and youth unemployment” and, environmentally, “the United States is among the countries that have ratified the fewest environmental treaties.“ The WEF noted that in the U.S.,”the business community continues to be critical toward public and private institutions” and “trust in politicians is not strong.” Political dysfunction has led to “a lack of macroeconomic stability” that “continues to be the country’s greatest area of weakness.”

    [Note: data on 2009, from the 2010-1011 competitiveness report can be found here: http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GlobalCompetitivenessReport_2010-11.pdf

    ReplyDelete
  4. Part 3

    Many – if not most - of the current corporate "reformers" worship at the altar of "free" markets. They do so despite the lessons of history (the Great Depression and the Great Recession being two prime examples in the U.S. alone within the last 83 years).

    And they do so despite still unfolding market-rigging scandals in the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) – which affects several hundred trillion dollars of assets and loans – and the ISDAfix, which is "a benchmark number used around the world to calculate the prices of interest-rate swaps."

    The emerging evidence is that some of the world's biggest banks and trading companies gamed a "market" of some nearly $400 trillion of these trades, and not in favor of the public. And not surprisingly, some of the very same players (corporate and individual "investors") were engaged in both the LIBOR and ISDAfix scandals.

    Even more recent disclosures reveal that traders and bankers have rigged the foreign exchange (FX) market, one that involves daily transactions of nearly $ 5 trillion, which is “the biggest in the financial system.” As one analyst noted, this is “the anchor of our entire economic system. Any rigging of the price mechanism leads to a misallocation of capital and is extremely costly to society.”

    See: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-11/traders-said-to-rig-currency-rates-to-profit-off-clients.html

    The corporate “reformers” say not a word about any of this. They pretend none of it has happened, or is occurring presently. And that’s simply unacceptable.

    American public education is a necessity is a democratic society. It’s a foundational cornerstone. And it works pretty darned well, in spite of economic policies that have increased poverty and left the national economy highly stratified.

    The public education system in a democratic republic is supposed to develop and nurture democratic values and character and citizenship. That’s the foundation of American public schooling; that is its core mission. And that is precisely the kind of reform direction we need.

    But Amanda Ripley says nary a word about it.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Part 3

    Many – if not most - of the current corporate "reformers" worship at the altar of "free" markets. They do so despite the lessons of history (the Great Depression and the Great Recession being two prime examples in the U.S. alone within the last 83 years).

    And they do so despite still unfolding market-rigging scandals in the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) – which affects several hundred trillion dollars of assets and loans – and the ISDAfix, which is "a benchmark number used around the world to calculate the prices of interest-rate swaps."

    The emerging evidence is that some of the world's biggest banks and trading companies gamed a "market" of some nearly $400 trillion of these trades, and not in favor of the public. And not surprisingly, some of the very same players (corporate and individual "investors") were engaged in both the LIBOR and ISDAfix scandals.

    Even more recent disclosures reveal that traders and bankers have rigged the foreign exchange (FX) market, one that involves daily transactions of nearly $ 5 trillion, which is “the biggest in the financial system.” As one analyst noted, this is “the anchor of our entire economic system. Any rigging of the price mechanism leads to a misallocation of capital and is extremely costly to society.”

    See: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-11/traders-said-to-rig-currency-rates-to-profit-off-clients.html

    The corporate “reformers” say not a word about any of this. They pretend none of it has happened, or is occurring presently. And that’s simply unacceptable.

    American public education is a necessity is a democratic society. It’s a foundational cornerstone. And it works pretty darned well, in spite of economic policies that have increased poverty and left the national economy highly stratified.

    The public education system in a democratic republic is supposed to develop and nurture democratic values and character and citizenship. That’s the foundation of American public schooling; that is its core mission. And that is precisely the kind of reform direction we need.

    But Amanda Ripley says nary a word about it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. oops.....sorry for the re-post

      Delete
    2. oops.....sorry for the re-post

      Delete
    3. oops.....sorry for the re-post

      Delete
    4. You supply no documentation of your claim that
      "many - if not most - of the current corporate reformers" worship at the altar of "free markets."

      In addition you don't define what a "corporate" reformer is compared to one who might be a non-corporate reformer. And, alas, you never state what it is that they are trying to reform or how they propose to do so. You never once tie them to education, and the paragraphs which follow certainly don't either.

      In your rendition of recent economic history you attack corporate reformers for not mentioning any of this.

      Finally you make some generalized statement about public education being the cornerstone of democracy,

      You end with an attack on Amanda Ripley for saying nary a word about "this"---whatever this is.

      You ought to apologize three times for the first post.

      Delete
    5. Sigh.

      Part 1

      Corporate “reform” refers to those who want to apply the “business model” to education. They want more testing, merit pay for teachers, more charter schools, and vouchers. Many would prefer to privatize public education. Some people believe that the corporate “reformers” advocate a type of “reform” that set the public schools up for failure, thus enhancing chances for privatization.

      For example, a former assistant secretary of education in the Bush2 administration said that NCLB was really a “Trojan horse...a way to expose the failure of public education...to blow it up a bit.” 

Or, take a look at who supports the “new” Common Core standards: Margaret Spellings, former Ed Secretary, who infamously called NCLB “99.9 percent pure;” Jeb Bush, who is pushing charter schools and vouchers across the country; Bill Gates, who funded the Common Core, and who wants more H1-B visas for his company despite the fact that American education churns out three times as many STEM graduates as there are jobs; and, the Business Roundtable and U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who lobbied aggressively for unfunded corporate tax cuts that spawned huge deficits and debt, and for laissez-faire regulatory policies that aided and abetted massive fraud and corruption (especially on Wall Street) and that blew up the economy.

      The common refrain among the current crop of “reformers” is that their brand of “reform” is necessary to “make America more competitive” in the global economy. Bill Gates says it. Jeb Bush says it. The U.S. Chamber says that ““Common core academic standards among the states are essential” U.S. competitiveness. The Business Roundtable resurrects the “rising tide of mediocrity” myth of A Nation at Risk, saying (falsely) that ““Since the release of A Nation at Risk in 1983, it has been increasingly clear that...academic expectations for American students have not been high enough.” Arne Duncan parrots what they say. Indeed Race to the Top was based on the notions of “competition,” “accountability,” “entrepreneurial activity,” and “markets.”


      But it’s all jus so much nonsense.

      Take the STEM issue. Beryl Lieff Benderly wrote this stunning statement recently in the Columbia Journalism Review (see: http://www.cjr.org/reports/what_scientist_shortage.php?page=all ):

      “Leading experts on the STEM workforce, have said for years that the US produces ample numbers of excellent science students. In fact, according to the National Science Board’s authoritative publication Science and Engineering Indicators 2008, the country turns out three times as many STEM degrees as the economy can absorb into jobs related to their majors.”

      So why the STEM emphasis by the likes of Bill Gates, the Business Roundtable, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the American Enterprise Institute (an ultra-conservative “think” tank dedicated to “free” enterprise and funded by corporations and right-wing foundations), and Teach for America (funded by the Arnold, Broad, ExxonMobil, Gates, Kern, Robertson, and Walton foundations, and by Barclays, Bank of America, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, and Wells Fargo, among others) ?

      [ See, for example: http://businessroundtable.org/blog/A-skills-shortage-a-STEM-response/ ]

      [Or, see: http://www.uschamber.com/press/releases/2011/april/us-chambers-report-highlights-essential-role-businesses-play-improving-ste ]


      [Or, see: http://www.aei.org/papers/education/the-case-for-being-bold/]

      Benderly continues:

      “Simply put, a desire for cheap, skilled labor, within the business world and academia, has fueled assertions—based on flimsy and distorted evidence—that American students lack the interest and ability to pursue careers in science and engineering, and has spurred policies that have flooded the market with foreign STEM workers. This has created a grim reality for the scientific and technical labor force: glutted job markets; few career jobs; low pay, long hours, and dismal job prospects for postdoctoral researchers in university labs; near indentured servitude for holders of temporary work visas.”

      Delete
    6. Part 2

      Benderly reports that an engineering professor at Rochester Institute of Technology said this to a Congressional committee last summer:

      “Contrary to some of the discussion here this morning, the STEM job market is mired in a jobs recession…with unemployment rates…two to three times what we would expect at full employment….Loopholes have made it too easy to bring in cheaper foreign workers with ordinary skills…to directly substitute for, rather than complement, American workers. The programs are clearly displacing and denying opportunities to American workers.”

      The Gates Foundation, and Broad Foundation and Walton Foundation –– all tied to "market reforms" –– are all big contributors to corporate-style “reform.” There are also big contributions from the Arnold Foundation and the CityBridge Foundation and the Robertson Foundation. 
       
      The Arnold Foundation is a right-wing organization founded by a hedge-funder who resists accountability and transparency in derivatives markets but calls for them in education. Its executive director, Denis Cabrese was former chief of staff to DIck Armey, the Texas conservative who now heads up FreedomWorks, the group that helps to pull the Tea Party strings and gets funding from the billionaire arch-conservative Koch brothers. 
       
      CityBridge has close ties to both KIPP and Teach for America. The Robertson Foundation's philanthropic "vision" is one that is "businesslike, results-oriented approach that is modeled more closely on private equity investing." In the area of education "reform" it seeks to encourage "competition by supporting the development of charter schools" and "voucher programs."  
       
      Both the Arnold Foundation and the Robertson Foundation have given $25 million to Teach for America. See: 
      http://www.bizjournals.com/houston/news/2011/01/27... 
       
      The Walton Foundation focuses on "competition", "charter school choice," "private school choice," and teacher effectiveness. It funds groups like Teach for America, the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (whose board of directors includes Rick Hess and whose advisory board includes a KIPP founder, a Walton board member, and education blatherer Andrew Rotherham) and the Charter School Growth Fund (interestingly, Kevin Hall sits on the board of both this group AND the Charter School Authorizers and was previously the "Chief Operating Officer of The Broad Foundation" and "worked at...Goldman, Sachs & Co., and Teach For America.").  

      Delete
    7. Part 3

      Then, there’s the Center for Education Reform, which gets its funding from conservative organizations like the Arnold, Bradley, Broad, Kern, Milken, and Walton Foundations, and from the Gates Foundation.

      And, there’s the conservative Thomas Fordham Institute, also a player in corporate-style “reform.” Major funders of Fordham include the following:

      * the Broad Foundation (known for its free market” “data-driven “ approach to “reform”);

      * the Walton Foundation (a big-time promoter of “competitive pressure,” i.e. school vouchers);

      * the Gates Foundation (a promoter of charters and “merit” pay);

      * the Hoover Institute (this conservative “think” tank pushes laissez-faire economics, puts out “research” by such ideologues as Eric Hanushek, Paul Peterson, Carolyn Hoxby, and is funded by conservative organizations groups like the Koret Foundation and the Bradley Foundation...Chester Finn is a “senior fellow” there);

      * Ohio Business Roundtable (a group that promotes the myth that higher standards and achievement are critical to “competitiveness” and demands more tax cuts for big business);

      * Koret Foundation ( Here is it’s foundational philosophy: “Milton Friedman believed that America's broken educational system lies at the heart of our nation's troubles, and directed his own foundation to work solely on the promotion of market-based K-12 education reform. The Koret Foundation agrees with Dr. Friedman.”);

      * the Bradley Foundation (an organization that purports to fund “wisdom, morality, and personal character” but which funds conservative causes and ideas almost exclusively, leading some to call it “the country's largest and most influential right-wing organization.” It also funds the conservative American Enterprise Institute, the Manhattan Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Federalist Society, and the Hoover institute.).

      Are you getting the picture, Anonymous @ 4:02 September 24?

      You can eat crow ( a BIG helping) and apologize when it suits you.

      Delete
  6. Thanks to Bob for debunking this Polish education miracle phony baloney story. Nothing against Poland which has improved greatly as a nation from such a brutal, bloody and tragic history. The Polish miracle is that it managed to survive the hideous Nazi devastation which was designed to erase Poland from the map. After the horrors of WWII, Poland had to endure the long dark night of colonization by the USSR.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Amanda Ripley is one of the numerous "Judith Miller"s on the NYT education reporting staff. Indeed, if a NYT reporter accidentally strays into the precincts of truth they will find themselves transferred to another department. -- Ellen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It would be more accurate to describe you, Ellen, as one of the CeceliaMc's of the Howler Cheerleading Squad, or Commentary Threads, however you choose to define this place.

      Amanda Ripley is not now, and has not been, a member of the education reporting staff of the New York Times.

      Delete
    2. You might consider that Ellen used Judith Miller's name as an appellation, whereas I like Miller.

      Consider too the fact that you doubtlessly hold more political positions in common with Somerby than I ever will (to say the least).

      So just who is the free-thinker as opposed to mindless zealot? The person who can admire and enjoy someone who holds few of her views? Or the partisan cheerleader who is only here to punish dissent?

      Delete
  8. OMB

    Yes BOB a sample of US 4th gradrs shellacked the Poles on the PIRL and TIMMS test the only year Poland participated in the test. Their 8th graders have yet to do so.

    So let's talk about PISA and the facts BOB DISAPPEARS. You seem to ignore this in OCED's presentaion of PISA data: in 2009 the Poles were deemed significantly above the OCED average on two of the three tests and above average on the other, The US was significantly below the OCED average on one test, and while above average in reading and science, not significantly so. Perhaps being above average on all three tests and significantly so on two of the three caused Mathews to add Poland to the three countries which he described as "all of which have high international test scores and give their teachers rigorous training."
    He never used any of the hyperbolic language used by A.M. Paul, but BOB seems not to try and distinguish between the two writers in this post save BOB's personal insult of Paul and her credentials, which, from an academic perspective alone, seem equal if not superior to his.

    But BOB also disappears all the previous PISA tests, the only ones which allow a comparison of Poland to the US over time. Why does he do that? We have no idea. BOB has nothing to sell but a narrative,
    but in a world of would be elite spinners of a position, many overlook facts which play their favorite tunes backward on the turntable.

    In both 2006 and 2003 a sample of Polish students scored above the US sample in math. In both 2006 and 2003 the results were the same in science.

    In reading, the strong suit for American 15 year olds, where we tied the Polish in 2009, American data is unavailable for reading, but the Poles were was above average, by 19 points as opposeded to only 7 above average in 2009. In 2003, the only other year where scores for both countries are available, the Poles narrowly scored two points above the US. Both countries bested the OCED average by only 3 and 1 point respectively. So lets go all the way back to 2000. That year US 15 year olds walloped Poles in reading, by 23 points. It was the only year they fell below the OCED average.

    So let's summarize. Poland pulled ahead of the US in reading in 2003 and hasn't looked back. They have been ahead of the US in science and math every year they took the test, starting in 2003. Their trend is up.

    Yes, two researchers found fault with 2009 PISA sampling techniques, although they continually had to revise their figures of the possible difference it made downward because they themselves made errors in their data used to criticize the PISA sample. But they made no such challenge for the earlier years. The trend is not attractive, and it supports the less grandiose claim made by Mathews about Poland.

    Our fourth graders did good against the Poles the one year they were both tested. Our fifteen year olds are on a losing streak.

    KZ

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OMB (Revisons and Corrections)

      I'll revise my earlier comment slightly. In 2009 OCED says the Poles were significantly above average on two tests but one point below average on the third.
      In 2003 the US tied Poland in Science and met the international average because the test was not given!

      Let's Do this for fun in tabular form:

      2000 PISA Reading
      US 504
      OCED Average 494
      Poland 479

      2003 Reading Math Science
      Poland 497 490 NA
      US 495 483 NA
      OCED Avg. 494 500 NA

      2006
      Poland 508 495 498
      US NA 474 489
      OCED Avg. 489 494 498

      2009
      Poland 500 495 508
      US 500 487 502
      OCED Avg. 493 496 501

      Delete
    2. Well, the columns were nice and neat in the preview.

      KZ

      Delete
    3. It is good to see BOB posting anew on this topic today. He revealed there was indeed a PISA test in math in 2000. When you use Data Explorer, math is the only test you need to click on something in addition to "All Years' to develop a report for 2000. Even then it confuses by presenting a report with no data for that year, becasue it poresent two reports.

      I am happy to say the USofA was undefeated by the Poles in that Millenium ending or beginning year.
      We scored higher in math and reading. Of course that doesn't change the lsoign streak which began three years later. We did tie them in one subject last year. But as the late great Darrell Royal used to say, a tie is like kissing your Polish sister.

      KZ

      Delete
  9. Ripley -- My error! I should have said Amanda Paul (who was summarizing Ripley). I was thinking of Motoko Rand and the lamented Michael Winerip, who, since he allowed some facts to creep into his reporting was summarily removed from the NYT education beat.

    Punish dissent? Billionaire corporate education "reformers" and their boutique foundations as dissenters? Really! Just how should they be punished? Maybe it would be a good idea to raise their taxes, for starters. --Ellen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The punish dissent remark I directed toward the troll who implied that we are both mindless Somerby cheerleaders.

      Delete
    2. Many well behaved girls spend much money and many hours training for cheer. At that point in their lives they might be described as youngish. Others might call them climbers of a familar type.

      Delete
    3. Shorter CeceliaMC: if you disagree with me or Bob, you are obviously a troll.

      Delete
  10. capital one forex current promotions. 400% Bonus. 400% Bonus in all deposits a bonus will be giving to the client's all deposits; this bonus cannot be lost but can be used as leverage to trade with, the client positions will be closed if the client loses his initial deposit.

    ReplyDelete