It’s utterly amazing:
Twelve minutes after twelve noon on December 12, 2012, (that is, 12:12 on 12/12/12 has come and gone, and somehow the sky still hasn’t fallen.
American fourth-grade students actually did quite well in comparison to about 50 nations in reading and literacy, according to the most recent PIRLS data. Here are two more graphs that I will share with you, which I took from pages 68 and 69 of that report.
First of all, notice that the USA is #7 out of all the 40+ nations when ranked by what percentage of students in each country attained scores deemed “advanced”. We beat nations like Ireland, Israel, NZ, Canada, Taiwan, Denmark, Australia, Germany, Sweden, Netherlands, France, Austria, and many more. That’s not bad.
Further, if you look at the middle, vertical blue line that I drew, you notice that the US has the sixth highest rate in the WORLD of students reaching the “high” benchmark as defined by PIRLS.
Finally, if you look at the median percentages, shown at the very bottom of the page and circled in blue by me, you see that the American rankings are way higher (farther to the right) than any of them.
My next graph shows how a few regions did. I’m going to take this with a bit more salt, however:
According to this table, Florida alone is #2 in the entire world. Is that really true? I don’t know; it doesn’t appear to be so highly ranked in reading on the NAEP; it’s tied for 12th place with Delaware, Kentucky, and Montana.
But I think it’s fair to say that American kids aren’t doing as poorly as many pundits and politicians keep saying.