- New York Times science reporter Kenneth Chang writes that Massachusetts eighth graders rank second in the world in science and sixth in math, according to data from the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (Timss), most recently conducted in 2011.
- Though achievement tests don't provide a complete picture of aptitude, the state has spent the two decades following the passage of the Massachusetts Education Reform Act of 1993 sticking to efforts aimed at improving science and math education despite disappointing early results.
- The improvements reflect across lower-income districts, as well, suggesting that the better results aren't just a product of the state's more affluent and better-educated population.
Chang's article comes as some parents and officials are expressing disappointment with poor early results from the nation's new Common Core State Standards. Massachusetts eighth graders' No. 2 and No. 6 rankings in science and math compare to the No. 10 and No. 9 rankings for the nation's eighth graders at large. That the state experienced less-than-stellar outcomes and slow improvements during the first few years of its own reforms, but is now producing some of the world's top-ranking students 20 years later, should help to combat some of the skepticism surrounding the Common Core.