"The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves." -- John Adams

"No money shall be drawn from the treasury, for the benefit of any religious or theological institution." -- Indiana Constitution Article 1, Section 6.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilisation, it expects what never was and never will be...nor can they be safe with them without information. Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe." – Thomas Jefferson

Friday, December 10, 2010

PISA scores prove what Krashen has been saying.

Stephen Krashen has been talking about poverty as a factor in student achievement for a long time. Now, another source for proof that he is right is available. It's the latest results from PISA, the Program for International Student Assessment, supports his contention that poverty, not the quality of teaching in the United States, has the biggest effect on student learning.
Poverty has a huge impact on American PISA scores
by skrashen

“Two countries with similar levels of prosperity can produce very different results,” Ángel Gurría, the O.E.C.D. secretary general, said in a statement on Tuesday. “This shows that an image of a world divided neatly into rich and well-educated countries and poor and badly educated countries is now out of date.” (New York Times, "Western Nations React to Poor Education Results," Dec. 8).

I have not yet seen an analysis of the impact of poverty on overall PISA scores (I have sent for the full set of data; they tell me it will come in ten days or so). But data available now tells us that poverty, as usual, had a huge impact on PISA reading test scores for American students. American students in schools with less than 10% of students on free and reduced lunch averaged 551, higher than the overall average of any OECD country. Those in schools with 10 to 25% of students qualifying for free and reduced lunch averaged 527, which was behind only Korea and Finland.

In contrast, American students in schools with 75% of more of children in poverty averaged 446, second to last among the 34 OECD countries.

This makes sense. Among other things, high poverty means less access to books at school, at home and in the community (e.g Krashen, 2004, The Power of Reading). Less access means less reading, and less reading means lower performance on tests such as the PISA.

The PISA data can be found on page 15 (table 6) of Highlights From PISA 2009, available on the internet.
~~~

No comments: