MONDAY, JANUARY 20, 2014
Chinese test scores, overstated by scam: Back in December 2010, Shanghai suddenly burst upon the international test score scene.
“Top Test Scores From Shanghai Stun Educators,” said the headline in the New York Times.
At issue were Shanghai’s scores on the 2009 PISA. Shanghai’s stunning performance came in its debut on the international test scene.
Even as the Times’ Sam Dillon noted that Shanghai’s schools are not representative of China, fear swept across the land. In the years since then, Shanghai’s high scores have often been cited, sometimes by pundits who seem to think that Shanghai’s scores are being recorded by China as a whole.
Recently, Tom Loveless of the Brookings Institute gave the lie to all this. We’re going to link you to Jay Mathews’ column about the Loveless report, which gives the lie to the Shanghai shenanigans and raises a lot of warning signals about the highly politicized PISA itself.
We’re not going to try to summarize for you; we’ll give you to Mathews for that. Suffice to say, Loveless has produced a fascinating report about life in China and about a rather sketchy form of international test score scamming.
This doesn’t mean that international test scores should be disregarded. It doesn’t mean that progressive educational activists should engage in their own test score scams—and yes, such bits of misdirection and misinformation are floating around.
It means that Loveless has created an heroic bit of international pushback, and that he has produced a fascinating piece of journalism. It means that great amounts of what we hear, no matter what the subject matter, are built from preferred elite scripts that powerful folk want to peddle.
(Warning! This is sometimes true in the case of stories you very much want to hear.)
To read Mathews’ column, just click here. We strongly recommend Loveless’ admirable report.