International comparisons

Homework matters depending upon which country you live in.

For years, researchers have been trying to figure out just how important homework is to student achievement. Back in 2009, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) looked at homework hours around the world and found that there wasn’t much of a connection between how much homework students of a particular country do and how well […]


What U.S. schools can learn from Poland

By any measure, Poland has made remarkable education progress since the fall of the Berlin Wall. On the most recent 2012 international tests of 15-year-olds, known as PISA tests, Poland ranked 9th in reading and 14th in math among all 65 countries and sub-regions that took the test. It used to be on par with the […]


US educators lead the world in overestimating student poverty, which may affect educational mobility

Do educators’ perceptions of how disadvantaged their students are matter? Put another way, when teachers think their students are underprivileged, do they have lower expectations for them, and do their students achieve less at school? In a July 22, 2014, article “Poverty and the perception of poverty – how both matter for schooling outcomes,” Andreas […]


What makes for happier teachers, according to international survey

  Teachers who say they get included in school decision-making and collaborate often with other teachers are more likely to say that teaching is a valued profession in their society.  In turn, these same teachers report higher levels of job satisfaction and confidence in their ability to teach and to motivate students, according to a 2013 […]


US students rank better internationally on new problem solving test than they do on conventional math and reading exams

Here’s a modest test result to bolster the argument of those who say the American educational system isn’t so terrible. On a new creative problem-solving test taken by students in 44 countries and regions, U.S. 15-year-olds scored above the international average and rank at number 18 in the world. That’s much better than the below-average […]


U.S. teachers 6th highest paid in the world

I tend to think of US teachers being relatively poorly compensated in our society, especially when compared to say, private equity fund managers. And I always thought that many developed nations paid their teachers far more than we do in the United States. So I was surprised to see that U.S. public school teachers are […]


PISA math score debate among education experts centers on poverty and teaching

I’ve been enjoying the posts on how to interpret the PISA math scores. Everyone agrees that average math performance among American 15 year olds is disappointing with the US ranking 36th among 65 nations and subregions. Michael Petrilli wrote a piece, PISA and Occam’s Razor, arguing that poverty might not the reason the US fares so […]


Top US students lag far behind top students around the world in 2012 PISA test results

Top U.S. students, those that are among the top 10 percent of the population, lag far behind the top students in the highest achieving countries, a gap that is far bigger than the gap between the bottom students in the United States and elsewhere. That’s if you measure it by the results of the 2012 […]


Top US students decline, bottom students improve on international PISA math test

Distribution of scores in mathematics in PISA 2003 through 2012, by percentiles   PISA 2012 Change in percentiles between 2003 and 2012 (PISA 2012 – PISA 2003)  Percentiles 10th 25th 75th 90th 10th 25th 75th 90th Score Score Score Score Score dif. Score dif. Score dif. Score dif. United States 368 418 543 600 11 […]


U.S. private school students not much better than public school students in math

In the 2012 international test that measures what 15-year-old students know, called PISA, private school students did only a smidgen better than public school students on the math test. Almost seven percent of American 15-year-olds attend private school and they scored an average of 486, only four points more than the average public school student, […]