Economic Impact of Math and Science Achievement Is Real

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints

To the Editor:

I read with great interest your report on the study by Francisco O. Ramirez of Stanford University that challenges the common belief that academic success in mathematics and science contributes to economic productivity ("Study Questions Role Math, Science Scores Play in Nations’ GDPs," Dec. 13, 2006). The study found that after the “Asian Tigers”—four East Asian nations that are both economic giants and academic superstars on international tests—are taken out of the equation, the link weakens or even disappears.

What worries me in this line of reasoning is that when these East Asian nations that are high scorers on both metrics are removed from the analysis, it creates a widely documented statistical artifact called “range restriction,” which has the effect of weakening the calculated correlation between the two phenomena under study. When such range restriction is suspected, which most notably exists in college-admissions research, where only applicants scoring above a certain standardized-test score get admitted, researchers scramble to find ways to statistically adjust the attenuated correlation.

What seems to be ironic in Mr. Ramirez’s study is that his team deliberately took those high scorers out of the equation to arrive at its shocking conclusion that the well-known link between academic success and economic growth is questionable. In fact, removing top players from the analysis only creates a distorted picture of that link.

While there is little doubt that academic success is only one of many factors that influence a nation’s economic productivity, the link between education and economics remains strong over a long-term trend. This trend has been well documented by economists such as Eric A. Hanushek of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. There is little evidence in Mr. Ramirez’s study that provides new light in a different direction.

Lihshing Leigh Wang
Assistant Professor
University of Cincinnati
Cincinnati, Ohio

The writer is the vice president of the Chinese American Educational Research and Development Association, located in Campbell, Calif.

Vol. 26, Issue 18, Pages 29, 31

Published in Print: January 10, 2007, as Economic Impact of Math and Science Achievement Is Real
Related Stories

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories





Sponsor Insights

Free Ebook: How to Implement a Coding Program in Schools

Successful Intervention Builds Student Success

Effective Ways to Support Students with Dyslexia

Stop cobbling together your EdTech

Integrate Science and ELA with Informational Text

Can self-efficacy impact growth for ELLs?

Disruptive Tech Integration for Meaningful Learning

Building Community for Social Good

5 Resources on the Power of Interoperability from Unified Edtech

New campaign for UN World Teachers Day

5 Game-Changers in Today’s Digital Learning Platforms

Hiding in Plain Sight - 7 Common Signs of Dyslexia in the Classroom

The research: Reading Benchmark Assessments

Shifting Mindsets: A Guide for Training Paraeducators to Think Differently About Challenging Behavior

All Students Are Language Learners: The Imagine Learning Language Advantage™

Shifting Mindsets: A Guide for Training Paraeducators to Think Differently About Challenging Behavior

How to Support All Students with Equitable Pathways

2019 K-12 Digital Content Report

3-D Learning & Assessment for K–5 Science

Climate Change, LGBTQ Issues, Politics & Race: Instructional Materials for Teaching Complex Topics

Closing the Science Achievement Gap

Evidence-based Coaching: Key Driver(s) of Scalable Improvement District-Wide

Advancing Literacy with Large Print

Research Sheds New Light on the Reading Brain

Tips for Supporting English Learners Through Personalized Approaches

Response to Intervention Centered on Student Learning

The Nonnegotiable Attributes of Effective Feedback

SEE MORE Insights >