Sent to the San Jose Mercury News, Nov. 14
Is it true that "American math achievement trails most industrialized nations" (Nov. 11)?
Studies show that middle-class American children attending well-funded schools score near the top of the world in math. American average scores are unspectacular because a high percentage of American school children live in poverty (20%; Sweden has 3%).
Also, some countries inflate their scores by excluding many children of poverty from taking the test. This does not happen in the United States.
Finally, the "Stanford Study" only considered the percentage, not the number of students reaching the top level. Several countries that did better than the US have small populations (eg Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Iceland). The US had 25% of the world's top achievers on the 2009 PISA science test. China had 1%.
Original article: http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_16577160?IADID=Search-www.mercurynews.com-www.mercurynews.com