How well are American Students Learning?

The Brown Center on Education Policy at Brookings has released the 16th annual Brown Center Report (BCR) on American Education by Tom Loveless. The 2017 BCR investigates three issues that are relevant to the current dialogue on U.S. education. Part I analyzes the changing scores of American students on two international tests; Part II revisits a popular BCR survey of foreign exchange students; and Part III examines racial disparities in California school suspensions.

A few key findings include:

  • The U.S. continues to register mediocre scores on the Program for International Student Assessment, as it has done since the test began in 2000. U.S. performance in all three subjects-math, reading, and science-was no different statistically in 2015 than it was when each subject was first administered.
  • International students still think U.S. schools are much less challenging than schools in their home countries. In 2001, 55.9 percent of foreign exchange students surveyed said their classes in America were “much easier” than back home; in 2016, that increased to 66.4 percent.
  • Analyzing data from California schools, Loveless finds that African-American students continue to be suspended at a higher rate than other ethnic groups. In 2013, the suspension rate for African-American students was 0.235, meaning 235 out of every 1,000 black students received a suspension; in 2015, it fell to 0.178. This is still dramatically higher than the 2015 rates of Hispanic students (0.052), white students (0.044) and Asian-Americans (0.012).

To view the report, see: