The PISA test results will come out Tuesday. This is the Programme for International Student Assessment, an international test of student achievement in 65 countries overall, including 34 considered economically advanced, conducted every three years since 1997. It tests 510,000 15-year-old students, including 4,200 in the United States.
Dan Montgomery, president of the Illinois Federation of Teachers, says the U.S. will look ordinary, until you consider one thing: “The United States has the highest poverty rate among the developed nations that participate in PISA. It’s a factor that has a significant impact on performance. So when you apply poverty factors, the United States schools, in the research, come out on top,” he said.
Montgomery is speaking in anticipation of the report’s release because he expects critics to draw the conclusion that “our students are getting worse, and our teachers are failing them,” when he says neither is true. Montgomery suggests student performance would improve, though, with more equitable distribution of education resources, universal pre-kindergarten, and some way to get students through higher education without debt.