Study: NC students competitive with global counterparts

Posted December 11, 2012

— New test results show North Carolina students are outperforming their international peers when it comes to science and math.

The Tar Heel State took part last year in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, which looked at how fourth- and eighth-grade students measure up with those in more than 60 other countries and states.

Results released Tuesday show that, overall, students performed at or above the international benchmark set out in the assessment.

North Carolina was the only participating state in the country and one of only eight education systems across the world – including Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan and Northern Ireland – in which fourth-grade math students outscored the test average and U.S. national average.

At the eighth-grade level, North Carolina was among four states, including Massachusetts and Minnesota, and seven countries to score higher than both the TIMSS scale and national averages.

In science, the average scores among fourth- and eighth-grade students in the state exceeded the TIMSS scale average but not the U.S. national average.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson said the results offer proof that North Carolina students can be competitive when it comes to a global marketplace and workplace.

She attributes the test results to two early-childhood education and providing professional development for teachers.

"The fact that our scores were comparable to scores from countries such as Singapore is a tribute to the work under way to remodel public education in this state."

Nationally, students are performing better than the global average but still lag behind those in Asia and Europe.

The TIMSS test is used to measure knowledge, skills and mastery of curricula by elementary and middle school students around the world.

Students in rich, industrialized nations and poor, developing countries alike are tested.

In 2011, 56 educational systems — mostly countries, but some states and subnational entities such as Hong Kong — took part in math and science exams.


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  • nitabitasmith Dec 12, 2012

    I think the results were "adjusted". I am a former teacher in NC and I am pretty sure this is exaggerated.

  • Plenty Coups Dec 11, 2012

    "So, this means we DON'T have to spend more per pupil to get good results."

    Or is it more likely that our scores will begin to drop as more teachers leave the profession. There is a lag effect. Funny thing is, is that you'd be saying the same thing if scores were bad-that we "shouldn't be throwing money at failed schools". Either way its obvious you just don't want to pay for education. Educational spending near the bottom of the nation speaks for itself.

  • Plenty Coups Dec 11, 2012

    "The only difference is that the students in other countries are not permitted to retake a test- so how can you compare apples with oranges!! You can't!!"

    This test is administered the same way in every country.

  • tayled Dec 11, 2012

    How did we do this? Not even a year ago, the politicians and the media were painting a picture of gloom and doom and that we were falling behind. How indeed? Perhaps we weren't as bad as they thought?

  • scovert73 Dec 11, 2012

    The TIMSS test is not the EOG's. The EOG's are the ones that students can retake if they are within the standard deviation of test itself. TIMSS can not be retaken. So one is not comparing apples to oranges. The TIMSS test is administered the same way consistently so that you can analyze the data.

  • tbalmer1 Dec 11, 2012

    The only difference is that the students in other countries are not permitted to retake a test- so how can you compare apples with oranges!! You can't!!

  • piene2 Dec 11, 2012

    "Study: NC students competitive with global counterparts"

    Oh right, except that a majority of them can not properly dress themselves, even begin to speak proper English, not to mention a second or third language or balance a check book. The survey must have compared them to the Bushman.

  • Banned4Life Dec 11, 2012

    What areas were tested? A few urban areas or the whole state? I can believe it if the results were pulled from mostly urban areas in our state, but I've got to tell you, it doesn't juve with what I've seen coming out of most of our rural school systems. Between all of the "my Billybob should be able to pray in school if he wants" and the rest of the issues the parents out there think are important (educational achievement seems to be about last on the list), and the lack of funds going to those regions as a percentage of total spending, there seems to be a large divide between the metropolitan and rural systems.

  • JustAName Dec 11, 2012

    So, this means we DON'T have to spend more per pupil to get good results.

  • whatelseisnew Dec 11, 2012

    It is my hope to see the end of the Traditional Public School. We can do better, but we have to allow choice into the system. It does not exist at the moment.