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Straight A’s Examines the Latest PISA Results, Focuses on New Reports on Common Standards and State Budgets

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December 15, 2010 02:52 pm


Here’s a quick summary of the articles in the December 13 issue of Straight A’s, the Alliance’s biweekly newsletter.

Click on a title below to access the complete article or download a printer-friendly version of the entire newsletter here.

GETTING BACK TO AVERAGE: American Fifteen-Year-Olds Rank 14th in Reading, 17th in Science, and 25th in Mathematics, According to Latest PISA Results

Released December 7, the results of the 2009 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) show that American fifteen-year-olds ranked 14th in reading, 17th in science, and 25th in mathematics among the thirty-four countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD).1 These results, which are outlined in Strong Performers and Successful Reformers in Education: Lessons from PISA for the United States, place the United States near the OECD average in reading and science but below the OECD average in mathematics.

A FIRST LOOK: New Report Finds Many Students Lack Skills Outlined in Common Core State Standards

Only about one-third of the nation’s eleventh-grade students are performing at the academic levels described as college and career ready in the common core state standards, according to a new report by ACT. The report, A First Look at the Common Core and College and Career Readiness, finds that only 38 percent of eleventh graders it studied met the benchmark in reading and only 34 percent hit the mark in the foundations of mathematics. The percentages are much lower for students of color.

THE FISCAL SURVEY OF STATES: Despite Small Increases in State Revenues, Most States Still Facing Significant Budget Gaps, Report Finds

After going through two of the most challenging years since the Great Depression, state budgets should see a slight improvement in Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 as revenues are expected to grow slightly, according to a new report from the National Governors Association (NGA) and National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO). However, the report, The Fiscal Survey of States, warns that most states will still face significant budget gaps. Further complicating matters, the federal money provided to plug state budget gaps through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is unlikely to continue. According to the report, the wind down of these flexible funds in FY 2012 will result in a cliff of more than $65 billion.

International Comparisons

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