Assessment Report Roundup

Middle-Class Students Lag in Global Study

By Nora Fleming — April 15, 2013 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Discussions of how to close the achievement gaps for low-income and minority students often take center stage in education policy discussions. Yet students from middle-class families, regardless of race and ethnicity, also have some catching up to do to be competitive on the global stage, a new report suggests.

U.S. students from middle-income households fall short of the average mathematics and science scores of their middle-income peers in many countries, according to the report from the New York City-based nonprofit group America Achieves. It’s based on data on 15-year-olds from the 2009 Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA.

Students were divided into four categories based on socioeconomic background, with the top tier including those from affluent families, while those in the bottom quartile had the lowest family wealth. American students in the second-highest category were outperformed by their peers in 24 countries in math and 15 in science. Those in the second-lowest category were outperformed by peers in 31 nations in math and 25 in science.

The report also drew on the findings of a new PISA-based pilot test developed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development that allows individual U.S. schools to see how they stack up globally. The results suggest that socioeconomic factors may have less significance than commonly thought, as some U.S. schools serving large concentrations of low-income students performed well, and some serving mostly middle-income students performed poorly in comparison with their global peers.

The report measures students’ family wealth based on a range of factors, including parents’ education levels, their occupations, and the possessions families have in their homes.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the April 17, 2013 edition of Education Week as Middle-Class Students Lag in Global Study

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Profession Webinar
Professional Wellness Strategies to Enhance Student Learning and Live Your Best Life
Reduce educator burnout with research-affirmed daily routines and strategies that enhance achievement of educators and students alike. 
Content provided by Solution Tree
English-Language Learners Webinar The Science of Reading and Multilingual Learners: What Educators Need to Know
Join experts in reading science and multilingual literacy to discuss what the latest research means for multilingual learners in classrooms adopting a science of reading-based approach.
School & District Management K-12 Essentials Forum Get a Strong Start to the New School Year
Get insights and actions from Education Week journalists and expert guests on how to start the new school year on strong footing.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Assessment Letter to the Editor We Need NAEP
The president and CEO of Knowledge Alliance responds to a recent opinion essay's criticism of the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
1 min read
Illustration of an open laptop receiving an email.
iStock/Getty
Assessment Letter to the Editor 2022 Assessment ‘Most Important’ Ever
The executive director of the National Assessment Governing Board responds to criticism of NAEP in this letter to the editor.
1 min read
Illustration of an open laptop receiving an email.
iStock/Getty
Assessment Opinion Ignore NAEP. Better Yet, Abolish It
We’ve got to stop testing schools to death, writes Al Kingsley. National (and international) tests won't “fix” education.
Al Kingsley
5 min read
conceptual illustration of a ruler measuring a figure
Vanessa Solis/Education Week and iStock/Getty images
Assessment Opinion The Future, Present, and Past of 'the Nation's Report Card'
What lies ahead for the nation's only true barometer of the state of K-12 education?
7 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty