Children left behind before school starts
Four major factors driving students' standardized test performance aren't even within schools' control, according to a new study. Simply by knowing the percentage of students who were often absent, raised by a single parent, not read to daily or watched five or more hours of TV daily, researchers were able to predict each state's results on a federal test with "impressive accuracy." The states that scored lowest tended to be those that had the highest percentages of children who met each of the four criteria.
Educational Testing Service. (2007). The Family: America's Smallest School. Princeton, NJ: Author.
Poverty plays greater role in determining U.S. test scores
U.S. students' test scores are significantly more likely to be negatively affected when their parents are struggling financially compared with their peers in other countries who scored better in the 2006 Program for International Student Assessment. An estimated 18% of variation in U.S. teens' science scores was tied to the students' socioeconomic status, more than twice that of high-performing Finland and Canada.
PISA. (2007). 2006 Program for International Student Assessment. Paris: PISA.