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News from EPI EPI Advises Scrutiny of PISA Spin

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Tomorrow morning in an event it terms “PISA Day,” the U.S. Department of Education (ED) will release student scores from the United States and other nations on last years’ international test, the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA). In a departure from past years, ED provided advance copies of its report to a select group of friendly advocacy groups that support its approach to education reform, and invited these groups to participate in the official release tomorrow.

In a blog post, EPI research associates Martin Carnoy and Richard Rothstein call this an attempt to manipulate, not inform, public opinion. The authors urge commentators and education policymakers to avoid jumping to quick conclusions or believing the early spin, as international data are particularly complex and often necessitate several months of close analysis.

The post also includes a PowerPoint summary of their analysis of the previous round of PISA data, from assessments administered in 2009, What Do International Tests Really Show about U.S. Student Performance?

Carnoy and Rothstein plan to publish a new report analyzing the latest round of tests, including new state-level results, early in 2014, after there has been sufficient time to examine detailed data from new PISA, TIMSS and NAEP tests. The authors will specifically examine whether the worldwide recession affected students’ performance, and how this effect varied among countries.

Read the full blog post on Working Economics, the EPI blog.