December 2013

Top 10 education data stories of 2013

For my year-end post I’m highlighting my 10 favorite Education By The Numbers stories of the year. Thank you to everyone who has read and commented and made the first few months of this blog an interesting experiment. I look forward to continuing this conversation about education data with you in 2014. 1.  Top US […]


Are Hispanic students the driving force behind the rise in urban test scores?

When the National Center for Education Statistics reported on Dec. 18th that fourth and eighth graders in the country’s largest cities had shown marked improvement in test scores over the past decade, a question kept popping into my head. To what extent is white gentrification of cities driving this test score increase? Is it possible […]


Top performing cities on NAEP test have the least poverty — but some poor cities do surprisingly well

Do cities with less poverty test better? Yes, but the correlation is not as tight as you might guess, according to 2013 test scores released Dec. 18, 2013. I put together a spreadsheet looking at the percentage of students who qualify for free and reduced priced lunch in each of the 21 urban school districts […]


Low-income inner-city achievement gap starts to close, test scores of urban school districts improve faster than nation over past 10 years, Washington D.C. stands out

The test scores of fourth and eighth graders in large cities have been improving faster than the national average has over the past decade, according to federal test data released Dec. 18, 2013. Wide achievement gaps between large cities, often with huge concentrations of low-income minorities, and the average U.S. student have closed by as much […]


Teacher and school workplace injuries decline in 2012, but violent injuries increase

Teaching is not a particularly dangerous or injury-prone occupation, especially when compared with, say, nursing, policing or driving.  But it is still interesting to see just how many workplace injuries teachers do suffer in the Bureau of Labor Statistics  annual report on the nation’s workplace injuries. And people employed in education in public schools seem […]


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 […]


Interview: Jill Barshay on PISA scores, backsliding of top US students, Asian testing strength

Hechinger Report contributing editor Jill Barshay took part in a podcast, “The United States Gets a C,”  with American Radio Works this week (Dec 10, 2013). “The results are in from academic tests of 15-year-olds in 65 countries and regions. PISA shows Finland slipping, Vietnam doing well, and the United States still middle of the pack.” Barshay and […]


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, […]


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