Students in six major U.S. cities–Austin, Boston, Charlotte, Houston, New York and San Diego–are performing as well or better in mathematics than 4th and 8th graders in other countries, according to a new study by the American Institutes for Research (AIR).
However, students from five other major cities–Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, the District of Columbia and Los Angeles–are performing below the international average, and sometimes well below. The research compares data on the U.S. cities math performance in the NAEP 2007 Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA) in Mathematics with international numbers culled from the 2003 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS).
USA Today looks at the numbers and concludes “Fourth- and eighth-grade students in…Austin, Boston, Charlotte, Houston, New York City and San Diego actually hold their own against international competitors from Singapore, Japan, England and elsewhere.” That’s an overly generous description given that Singapore has 73% of its 8th graders proficient in math; Japan has 57%; while the top U.S. cities in the study, Charlotte and Austin, have a proficiency rate of 34%. However, the international TIMSS average among 8th graders is a mere 21%. For it’s part AIR concludes:
The findings in this report reinforce the fact that neither the typical student in the United States or in any of the 11 urban districts has achieved the Proficient level of performance found in Singapore, Hong Kong SAR, Chinese Taipei, and Japan. If the United States is counting on today’s mathematics education to seed the future technology and science needed to carry our cities and our nation forward, then we are already at a competitive disadvantage.