New report demonstrates that socioeconomic inequality skews student test scores

Published on Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Last month, the Stanford Graduate School of Education and the Economic Policy Institute released a report, “What do international tests really show about American student performance?” demonstrating that socioeconomic inequality among U.S. students skews international comparisons of student test scores.

According to the report, Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) scores in reading and math are low, on average, for U.S. students partly because a disproportionately greater share of U.S. students comes from disadvantaged social class groups. The performance of students from these groups is relatively low in all countries.

National Education Association (NEA) President Dennis Van Roekel said the report supports NEA’s belief that “poverty and education inequity are indisputably linked.”

 “It is estimated that one in five students overall in the U.S. live in poverty—far more than in any other industrialized country, Van Roekel continued. “If we want to transform public education to help all students succeed, we cannot be afraid to talk about and address poverty-related issues. We all need to work together to foster changes so that disadvantaged students have the same opportunity as other students to receive a quality education.”

To download a copy of the full report, visit

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