Education quirk

Interesting. Short version: PISA is the “Programme for International Student Assessment”, it tests schools/kids from around the world. 65 nations entered. America ranked 14th in reading, 17th in science and 25th in math. Ouch. Nations that didn’t enter were mostly places like all of sub-Saharan Africa which routinely score badly on such tests; it’s safe to assume the US did better than Haiti, even if they didn’t take the test.

However… Someone looked at how kids performed in each nation by ethnic backgrounds within a country, and compared them across borders (i.e., compare American Chinese to Chinese in China, American whites to whites in Europe, Mexican-Americans to Mexicans in Mexico, etc). Quote:

Asian-Americans outperform all Asian students except for Shanghai-Chinese. White Americans outperform students from all 37 predominantly white nations except Finns, and U.S. Hispanics outperformed the students of all eight Latin American countries that participated in the tests.

African-American kids would have outscored the students of any sub-Saharan African country that took the test (none did) and did outperform the only black country to participate,Trinidad and Tobago, by 25 points.

Huh. That means that one (or both) of these two cherished narratives are false:
(a) American schools are abject failures for the amount of money we spend per student, and spending more money will fix the problem, or
(b) There are no real and significant racial /ethnic /cultural differences, and the low academic scores highly correlated with economic achievement of certain groups is the result of white racism, oppression,  discrimination, etc.

You can lead a horse to water… etc., etc.

You can’t have it both ways with this analysis of the data. Personally, I think we should treat all people as individuals, and do what we can with / for them. Move to an ability-based class-placement system for most things rather than age-based.


13 thoughts on “Education quirk

  1. The truth, in fact, is

    (c) PISA is largely an IQ test, testing the g factor, which is highly hereditary, and ethnic groups that share large genetic similarities score similarly on the test.

    • Yes, that is the obvious corollary of option (b) being wrong, and something the education establishment has absolutely refused to come to terms with because it would nuke from orbit most of their programs, “research,” and “reforms.”

  2. We’re asking all the wrong questions, based on our pre-conceived notions.

    The proper survey would be school-by-school, or even teacher-by-teacher, including public, private, and home schoolers, because the results of THAT test would blow away any ideas of the significance of “racial IQ”, and so on, and all the other such rot-gut. It would also be hated, maligned and impugned by teachers’ unions, public school administrators and Progressives (but I repeat myself), et al, because the truth, should it escape into the general public, would not only put them out of business, it would likely put many of them in court as defendants– It would put their movement back by decades.

    I’ve said it for years now; public education (i.e. state indoctrination and demoralization) is the Achilles-heel of the Progressive Marxist movement. Take that away and the whole thing begins to crumble. We need a constitutional amendment;

    “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of education, nor prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

    • The proper survey would be school-by-school, or even teacher-by-teacher, including public, private, and home schoolers, because the results of THAT test would blow away any ideas of the significance of “racial IQ”, and so on, and all the other such rot-gut.

      It’s been done. Not only did it confirm g and its hereditary (and therefore racial) nature, but it showed that school quality doesn’t really have much to do with results. A bad school can hold you back, but a really good school can’t propel you any further than a mediocre school can. We are long, long past diminishing returns on our education spending.

      The real dirty secret is how much damage public school does to the high g students. Every class is dragged down the level of the lowest students. This was the genius of Gifted tracks — it got the gifted kids away from the kids holding them back. When you add in that the average white IQ is 100 and the average black IQ is 90, you have the perverse situation where integration does nothing to help the lower g black students (because they are setting the bottom bar) but you are in fact hurting the white students, who are a standard deviation higher in intelligence. Like most of the Great Society BS, it did damage while solving NONE of the problem it was (allegedly) intended to address. Even a class of higher intelligence blacks are held back if there are 2 or 3 IQ 80 kids in a class of 30. You can’t get the class going past the ones at the bottom.

      The best thing we could do for education is to IQ test children early and regularly, and segregate them out by IQ brackets. (This is fairly common in Europe.) It helps the high IQ kids, and it helps the low IQ kids. Everyone is better off when they are in a class of comparable potential.

      • Phelps:
        In the few cases where they are brave enough to actually include it, every time I’ve seen the Black IQ stated, it has been 80 average. It varies a bit, depending on which area of the world is being looked at. It has generally been a little higher in the US than elsewhere, and I suspect that this may be influenced by racial mixing over a couple centuries. I’m not sure about that, however. There may be other factors not considered. An intriguing question is if any selection criteria at the African purchase point might influence this.

        As far as schools go, I can attest to the problems of mixing higher IQ students into a class of average-to-lower ones. When I started high school, my mother gave me a list of classes to pick. I did not pick a language, as I was quite frustrated by how badly they were taught in most schools, and I had already attended at least 10 by that point. Wasn’t until years later that I discovered that this choice eliminated classes that were oriented toward college prep. Teachers were annoyed to discover that I would read the entire textbook the first week of school. I normally read two books a day for entertainment, at that age. Was I bored in school? You bet! Did the teachers work with me? Hell no! I was a major aggravation to them, since I made them look stupid, although not on purpose. Was those 4 years useful to me? Hell no.

        • I think that 85-90 is probably more reliable because of the Flynn Effect. Since it disappeared in the US around 1990, I think we can call it a combination of nutrition and societal abstraction concepts pretty safely. That suggests that African IQs can be expected to continue the Flynn Effect until (if ever) nutrition and mass media meets US standards.

    • Of course the problem with a constitutional amendment is the same problem that applies to all of the Constitution: “Are you serious?” The government will not respect it any more than it respects the existing Constitution.
      The amendment you describe would be just as redundant as the 2nd Amendment is — for both, Article 1 Section 8 is sufficient to tell us the Federal government has no such power. But that section is even more thoroughly pissed on by Washington than the rest of the Constitution.

  3. I have seen a similar analysis of crime rates with similar results. Less crime by whites than Europeans, less by blacks than Africans, less by Asian-Americans than Asians, less by Mexican-Americans than Mexicans. Can’t find the study since it is buried in 1.6M politicized articles.

  4. And this report shows why one’s raw data for climate change is a bigger secret than the nuclear secrets. Someone with fresh eyes and no biases in favor of big government control of everything might come to a different conclusion.

  5. The US tests all its kids, the rest of the world maybe tests only those worth testing.

    • That’s an interesting point. In Holland where I grew up (and in a number of other European countries) there isn’t just “high school” — instead, secondary school comes in a number of different flavors. There is the college prep flavor, with and without Latin. There is the middle flavor, which is perhaps most like US high school — general secondary level education. And there are various trade schools. It may well be that test results you see out of those parts of the world are only from the students in some of the flavors of secondary schools.

      • So, if we’re beating the rest of the world in each individual ethnic group, is it like the old joke about losing money on each unit sold “but we make it up in volume”, or is it like the international comparison of medical care in which the US is ranked with Cuba because our stats are better, but Cuba gets higher marks for equality?
        Are thumbs placed on scales to bring the US down to 14th in reading, 17th in science and 25th in math?

        • Yes, there are many thumbs on the scale. Not sure what the biggest one is. But our overall average started going down in the 1960s, IIRC, around the same time as the 1965 immigration change started letting in large numbers of people from lower average IQ nations.

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