New report urges U.S. educators to avoid basing policy on international test results

October 30, 2015

By Jonathan Rabinovitz

Policymakers should concentrate less on Finland and Korea and more on Massachusetts and Minnesota when drawing lessons about how best to improve school systems throughout the United States.

That’s the message of a new report by Stanford education professor Martin Carnoy and two colleagues that calls on U.S. educators to stop paying so much attention to the many nations who rank above it on international tests and instead delve deeply into results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), often referred to as the nation’s report card. 

“We should question the relevance of comparing so-called U.S. national student performance with average scores in other countries, when U.S. students attend schools in 51 separate education systems run by states and the District of Columbia, not the federal government,” said Carnoy. “Nobody has really looked deeply at NAEP data with the idea of seeing what individual states can learn from each other.”