Friday, March 17, 2006

Lies With (and About) Statistics

Do you buy all that foofoodust telling you that our children are near the bottom in math education and achievement?

You've been suckered...

I've mentioned many times that aggregate scores which are reported mask the fact that the mainstream kids are doing fine, but our system is still failing to devote enough resources to our social underclass. I've mentioned theTIMSS test, for instance, which showed that if Colorado, Connecticut, Iowa and ten other states--none of which has a substantial underclass--had been treated as separate nations, each of them would have been outscored only by Singapore (Prof. David Berliner, "Our SchoolsVersus Theirs," Washington Post, January 28, 2001).

[Or specifically, take] the Program in StudentAssessment (PISA). For the 2000 survey (the 2003 report does not have enough data for what I will emphasize here), the U.S. ranked 18th of the 27 OECD countries, with a mean score of 493. However, broken down by race, the means in the U.S. were:
white 530
black 423
Latino 437
This once again shows, tragically, that the U.S. is not doing enough to bring up the educational performance of its underclass. But if one takes the white score as "mainstream," the U.S. would rank 7th out of27, instead of 18th.

Newsletter from Norm Matloff, Ph.D., UC-Davis Professor of Computer Science


Joey said...

"This once again shows, tragically, that the U.S. is not doing enough to bring up the educational performance of its underclass."

And once again, it's the government's job to wave the magic wand (i.e. money) to make kids smarter.

I also find it interesting that they always show white, black, and Latino numbers, but for some reason exclude Asians, who have endured some of the hardest times of any group in the country (Japanese internment camps during WWII are just one example), and yet are often above even white students. I guess examples of minorities succeeding is something we wouldn't want to admit to though.

Dad29 said...

That's not the thrust of the newsletter, NOR the excerpt.

What he's trying to say is that the Immigration lobby is lying like Hell about their "needs" for math/science talent from overseas.

We're JUST AS GOOD here. But more expensive; there are some who view labor expense as pure evil.