US News "Best Countries" Exposes Weak Link Between Test Scores and Productivity | Teachers College Columbia University

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TC’s Levin in US News: Weak Link between Test Scores and Workforce Productivity

Henry Levin, William Heard Kilpatrick Professor of Economics and Education
Henry Levin, William Heard Kilpatrick Professor of Economics and Education
On the U.S. News & World Report “Best Countries” website, TC’s Henry Levin, the William Heard Kilpatrick Professor of Economics and Education, writes that a country’s high scores on standardized tests do not necessarily correlate with a high-quality workforce.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development tests 15-year-olds in more than 70 nations for academic achievement in reading, mathematics and science, with U.S. scores “astoundingly disappointing,” Levin writes.

However, Levin points out that mediocre test scores have not led to lower productivity in America’s workforce. In 2014, U.S workers produced more gross domestic product per hour of labor than high academic achievers South Korea, Japan, Canada and Finland.

“And the differences favoring the U.S. were substantial – twice the labor productivity of South Korea and 40 percent more than Japan,” Levin observes. He adds that standardized test scores are less predictive of worker productivity than “prominent dimensions of personal development,” such as “complex problem solving, creativity, judgment, effort, collaboration and self-discipline.”

To read the full story, go to this password-protected site.

Published Tuesday, Apr 4, 2017

Henry Levin, William Heard Kilpatrick Professor of Economics and Education
Henry Levin, William Heard Kilpatrick Professor of Economics and Education
On the U.S. News & World Report “Best Countries” website, TC’s Henry Levin, the William Heard Kilpatrick Professor of Economics and Education, writes that a country’s high scores on standardized tests do not necessarily correlate with a high-quality workforce.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development tests 15-year-olds in more than 70 nations for academic achievement in reading, mathematics and science, with U.S. scores “astoundingly disappointing,” Levin writes.

However, Levin points out that mediocre test scores have not led to lower productivity in America’s workforce. In 2014, U.S workers produced more gross domestic product per hour of labor than high academic achievers South Korea, Japan, Canada and Finland.

“And the differences favoring the U.S. were substantial – twice the labor productivity of South Korea and 40 percent more than Japan,” Levin observes. He adds that standardized test scores are less predictive of worker productivity than “prominent dimensions of personal development,” such as “complex problem solving, creativity, judgment, effort, collaboration and self-discipline.”

To read the full story, go to this password-protected site.

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