Today, some comic relief: On Tuesday morning, the Washington Post reported the test results from the 2015 Timss. To read that report, click here.
The Timss is one of two international testing programs for the world's public school students. It's administered every four years.
Given the amount of propaganda which swirls around international test scores, you'd almost think our major newspapers would want to report these results.
So far, the New York Times hasn't published a word in its hard copy editions. On line, it has posted this somewhat comical AP report.
What's funny about the AP report? Why do we find it amusing?
As is required by Hard Pundit Law, the AP reports the American glass ten percent empty rather than ninety percent full. As we'll note tomorrow, the Post seems to have followed the gloomy AP down this mandated trail.
Still and all, the AP report by Jennifer Kerr offers some comic relief. After an initial dollop of doom, it offered an unintentionally funny third paragraph, relying on expert appraisal:
KERR (11/29/16): Eighth graders in the United States improved their scores in math over the last four years, up nine points. Scores for science, however, were flat. In fourth grade, scores were unchanged in the math and science tests.If we're able to follow the logic there, it's better to show improvement than to "hold one's own." But it's better to hold one's own than to show a decline!
"The results do suggest a leveling out in the most recent cycle," said Ina Mullis, an executive director of the TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center at Boston College, where researchers helped coordinate staff to administer the assessments. "One always prefers to see improvement, but holding one's own is preferable to declining."
We get these data every four years. That was the AP's third paragraph. And no, the Times didn't leave something out. Here's the official AP version.
(By the way: Is a gain of "nine points" a lot or a little? Given four years to figure it out, the AP doesn't say.)
Tomorrow, we'll look at the Post's report, which strikes us as rich in both script and avoidance. For an overview of the results, see our own Wednesday report.