THE "MISREPORTED PISA SCORES" FILE: Digest of last week's reports!


Starting tomorrow, A Mississippi muddle:
American teens outperformed from their counterparts from the vast majority of the world's nations on last year's Pisa reading test.

Indeed, if they were viewed as separate nations unto themselves, our nation's white and Asian-American kids would have rated as the highest-scoring nations in the world!

Those are remarkable facts. That said, you would have had no awareness of any such facts in reading the recent news reports on the new Pisa scores in the Washington Post and the New York Times.

In accord with standard practice, the high-profile reports in those upper-end papers were conventionally gloomy. The reports were driven by factual claims which were grossly misleading and were sometimes flatly wrong.

So it has gone, for decades now, as our upper-end newspapers attempt to report, or pretend to report, on our nation's public schools and the children within them. Below, you see links to last week's reports from the "Standard Reporting on Standardized Tests" file:
Tuesday, December 10: You got to choose between gloomy and wrong! The Times and Post toyed with the PISA.

Wednesday, December 11: American kids were outscored by Macau! With other deceptions and trivia.

Thursday, December 12:
(Some) American kids are the best in the world! The problem we all choose to ignore.

Friday, December 13:
The Times ignores the nation's black kids! The problem we all disappear.
Tomorrow, we'll start a new set of reports on a related topic. Our reports will deal with striking score gains in the state of Mississippi, and with the peculiar reporting of same.

Here's the basic background:

Over the past ten years, Mississippi's fourth graders have recorded large score gains on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (Naep), the widely-praised "gold standard" of domestic educational testing.

The upper-end press corps has long made a point of refusing to report the large nationwide score gains recorded on the Naep over the past fifty years. In this recent opinion column, the New York Times inched toward breaking the code of silence which has long held that such score gains must never be reported or discussed.

That said, the recent column in the Times displays the peculiar ways test scores get reported and analyzed in the American press. Our press corps works on second-grade level even when it tries to deal with such basic statistics.

Mississippi's Naep scores have gone up in the past ten years—even more than that column reports! What lies behind these large score gains?

It's a true Mississippi muddle. Our reports begin tomorrow.

The opinion column in question: Far be it from the New York Times to report score gains like these in an actual news report! The opinion column to which we refer appears beneath these headlines:
There Is a Right Way to Teach Reading, and Mississippi Knows It
The state’s reliance on cognitive science explains why.
The statewide score gains in question are real. Indeed, the score gains go far beyond what that column reports.

There's a lot to unpack in this puzzling muddle. We'll get started tomorrow.

A final observation:
You'll see these topics discussed here and nowhere else. You'll see no one report or discuss the basic data from the Pisa which we presented last week.

The reason for this is blindingly obvious. No one actually cares about any of this—not Trump, not Rachel or Lawrence. When it comes to reporting on our public schools, it's fictitions all the way down.

It's preferred elite narrative all the way down. That isn't going to change. U.S. teens outscored the bulk of the world?

You aren't encouraged to know that.


  1. As long as the white and Asian kids are doing OK, I guess we don't have to worry about the state of American education! No need for doom and gloom.

    Somerby says no one else reports this stuff. Kevin Drum talks about it, every time there is a new report out. Certainly Trump doesn't care, but Rachel and Lawrence talk about national political issues, not local education issues. You might as well ask Somerby to talk about why troops still remain in Syria. Too elite a narrative for him to worry about.

  2. "Our press corps works on second-grade level even when it tries to deal with such basic statistics."

    All press work at a similarly low level because that is the reading level of the general public.

  3. "The reason for this is blindingly obvious. No one actually cares about any of this—not Trump, not Rachel or Lawrence."

    I would certainly hope so, dear Bob. No decent person should care about this kind of slicing and dicing educational systems by "race".

    But then, I'm pretty sure you're being way too optimistic, dear Bob. You zombie cult dembots certainly do care about "race"-based breakdowns pretty much everywhere where it suits their political agenda...

    1. Upvote for noting the "White working Class" should be ignored.

  4. “You'll see these topics discussed here and nowhere else.”

    He says this, after quoting from and linking to a New York Times editorial that is discussing this.

    “You'll see no one report or discuss the basic data from the Pisa which we presented last week.”

    He says this after spending several posts discussing newspaper articles in the Times and the Washington Post that discussed the PISA, including a discussion of some of the more troubling aspects of the latest results, which apparently equates to “not discussing” the results in the way that Somerby wanted.

    Also, just for the record, there are all kinds of blogs and online publications devoted to education that discuss all aspects of education that Somerby routinely ignores so that he can pretend that no one talks about these things.

    1. Naturally. Somerby is a clueless, lying, Trumptard.

  5. “American teens outperformed from their counterparts from the vast majority of the world's nations on last year's Pisa reading test.”

    Just to review, the Goldstein article had the headline “School Reforms Fail to Lift U.S. On Global Test”. The test results showed essentially no changes over the last twenty years, a time span in which major reforms were enacted, such as No Child Left Behind and Common Core, with the goal of increasing US test scores. The scores did not increase.

    Somerby chose to ignore that, and focus on showing how the scores were actually pretty good, especially if you exclude mathematics altogether, and, if you exclude black and Hispanic reading scores, the reading scores look even better. That may be, but it completely missed the point of Goldstein’s story.

  6. I have said before at this site that:
    After 300 years of slavery.
    After 100 years of terroristic subjugation.
    After 65 years of grudging, belligerent, resentful, forced tolerance some Americans wonder why Black Americans don't perform, academically, at the same level as other Americans.
    When I first said this at this site, DinC responded (I paraphrase) that "60 years was more than enough time to equalize results".

    Some of us at this site (including Somerby) are running away; But you can't run away from yourself.

    1. David would say that the Jews experienced the same things:

      300 years of slavery in Egypt (remember Moses)
      100 years of terroristic subjugation (actually longer is many places, remember pogroms)
      65 years of grudging belligerent resentful forced tolerance (pre-war Germany and similar assimilation)

      What David and @3:53 neglect is the tradition of scholarship applied to religious study in Judaism contrasted with the laws forbidding teaching of literacy to slaves, lack of adequate schools during the 100 years following emancipation, and substandard funding and defacto segregation in he next 65 years, coupled with a brutal drug war that affected the black community more than whites, coupled with ongoing economic insecurity, poor health care, and continuing discrimination.

      You cannot equalize results without equalizing life experiences and learning conditions. That has never happened in our country's history up to and including today.

      I don't recommend running away from yourself. Somerby's desire to compare apples and oranges is a joke. David, unfortunately, is not joking and that is his tragedy.

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