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ERIC Number: EJ777826
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Oct
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0031-7217
Are International Tests Worth Anything?
Baker, Keith
Phi Delta Kappan, v89 n2 p101-104 Oct 2007
The idea that America was being harmed because its schools were not keeping up with those in other advanced nations emerged after Sputnik in 1957, took a firm hold on education policy when "A Nation at Risk" appeared in 1983, and continues today. Policy makers justify this concern by pointing to evidence showing that, for individuals within the U.S., higher test scores predict a number of important life advantages, such as going on to college and making more money as an adult. Since Sputnik, the evidence driving worries about the performance of U.S. schools have come primarily from a series of international achievement testing programs that started in 1964 with the First International Mathematics Study (FIMS). This was followed by the Second International Mathematics Study (SIMS), the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), and, most recently, the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). In this article, the author shows that for the U.S. and for the top dozen or so most-advanced nations in the world, standings in the league tables of international tests are worthless. There is no association between test scores and national success, and, contrary to one of the major beliefs driving U.S. education policy for nearly half a century, international test scores are nothing to be concerned about. America's schools, he asserts, are doing just fine on the world scene. (Contains 4 endnotes.)
Phi Delta Kappa International. 408 North Union Street, P.O. Box 789, Bloomington, IN 47402-1789. Tel: 800-766-1156; Fax: 812-339-0018; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Program for International Student Assessment