Harvard Study Says Poverty Doesn’t Explain Away Low American Math Scores

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Artful D0dger, Aug 29, 2011.

  1. Liz Goodwin, Yahoo! News, August 22, 2011

    America’s child poverty problem does not entirely explain away its students’ relatively low math scores, says a report from Harvard’s Program on Education Policy and Governance.


    In 2009, about 32 percent of American students scored what the researchers termed “proficient” on the PISA, which placed it 32 out of 65 countries. Fifty percent or more of students in Korea, Finland, Switzerland, Japan, Canada and the Netherlands scored proficient.

    Previous studies have suggested that Americans out-score other countries once you control for poverty. {snip}

    But the Harvard researchers, using different measures, found that poverty did not seem as big of a factor in how Americans scored on math. When the researchers just looked at students with at least one college-educated parent, a good indicator that the child is above the poverty line, only 44.4 percent were proficient in math, trailing significantly behind students in 13 countries.

    Using another common metric of poverty, race, American students still lagged behind. Only 41 percent of white students scored proficient on math. (About 10 percent of white children live in poverty, much lower than the overall rate.) Meanwhile, 11 percent of black students and 15 percent of Hispanic students scored proficient on math.


    {snip} The researchers argue that boosting U.S. kids’ math scores to the level of South Korea would result in a 1.3 percentage jump in GDP each year, totaling $75 trillion over 80 years.