Education Statistics in the media

Debunked: Singapore’s High Test Scores

Misidentifying Factors Underlying Singapore’s High Test Scores

  • Singapore’s student population does not include the children of huge numbers of people who work the lower-paying jobs in Singapore.
  • For Singaporean students, school is their job; other activities are absent or relegated to minor roles.
  • Most Singaporean children get additional schooling beyond the school day through individual tutoring or classes.  (One survey found 97% of Singaporean students get private Math tutoring)
Yet again, Statistics 101.  Yet this myth is parroted like gospel.  Of course test scores are going to vary when you are not comparing similar groups:  
  • China scores only include children from Shanghai.  (How about we only include students from Scarsdale in the USA TIMMS scores?)
  • Singapore schools do not contain any children from working class families (Service workers commute to Singapore from Malaysia).  Singapore GDP is 50% higher than the USA’s.
  • American students are involved with a wide array of sports and activities.  22% of American students have after school jobs.
  • The reality is that top performing students in affluent suburbs of America perform on par with top performing countries who do not have lower class students in their results.

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