Headline RoundupDecember 5th, 2023

US Students' Math Scores Drop in First PISA Report Since COVID-19

Summary from the AllSides News Team

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development released the results of its 2022 PISA report, revealing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on academic performance across the globe.

For Context: The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) tests 15-year-old students around the world on ​​reading, mathematics, and science literacy. The 2022 test was the first administered since the COVID-19 pandemic, during which many schools temporarily shifted to remote instruction.

Details: U.S. students’ score for math literacy dropped 13 points from the last test administered in 2018, remaining lower than the global average but falling roughly in line with an overall global decline. U.S. students dropped one point in reading literacy and three points in science literacy from 2018 but scored above the global average and above 2012 scores in both categories.

How the Media Covered It: Some left-rated outlets more prominently highlighted the reading and science scores, while right-rated outlets focused almost exclusively on the math scores. The Wall Street Journal (Center bias) included a quote from the Education Secretary arguing that President Biden’s funding prevented a worse performance from students. The Daily Caller (Right bias) pulled information from the Axios (Lean Left bias) report but left out context included in Axios’ coverage, such as the fact that U.S. students lagged behind other countries in math scores prior to the pandemic.

Why the Difference? Right-rated outlets are more critical of pandemic-era school closures and shutdowns overall, while left-rated outlets more often defend these closures as necessary.

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