December 4, 2013

PISA by state by race: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Florida

The PISA test was given to large samples sizes in three American states. From the federal National Center for Educational Statistics:

PISA 2012
Race / Ethnicity Mean Math Science Reading
White 538 530 545 540
Black 467 458 466 476
Hispanic 460 446 460 475
Asian 578 569 580 584
Multiracial NA NA NA NA
White 542 534 547 546
Black 434 421 433 447
Hispanic 456 442 463 463
Asian 548 534 553 558
Multiracial 512 496 520 521
White 512 499 520 518
Black 429 413 425 449
Hispanic 474 458 475 489
Multiracial 486 467 500 492
White-Black Gaps
Massachusetts 72 72 79 64
Connecticut 109 113 114 99
Florida 83 86 95 69
White-Hispanic Gaps
Massachusetts 78 84 85 65
Connecticut 86 92 84 83
Florida 38 41 45 29

The standard deviation is supposed to be 100, so you can just put a decimal place in front of those gap numbers to convert them into rough z scores.

We can see patterns here that shouldn't be unexpected. Massachusetts, home to the education-industrial complex since 1636, has smart whites. Connecticut, home to the hedge fund industry, has smart whites.

Florida, not so much. Still, this would be a good time for an old anecdote about how Florida isn't wall-to-wall Parrot Heads. I had a girlfriend in college who went to the public high school in Cocoa Beach, FL (the town that was the setting for the 1960s sit-com I Dream of Jeannie). She told me she scored 1580 on the SAT (M+V, old-style). I exclaimed:

"You must have had the highest score in your high school!"

"Oh, no, I was fourth-highest."

"Fourth? Who were the other three? The children of rocket scientists?" (In my defense, this was a relatively new witticism in 1979.)


Massachusetts has pretty smart blacks, going back to Phillis Wheatley and W.E. Du Bois. Connecticut and Florida, not so much.

Florida has pretty smart Hispanics, although the wealthy Cubans and other rich Latin Americans are getting diluted more and more.


Anonymous said...

One of the interesting elements here is that Asian folks on the PISA tend to do well with verbal skills, in terms of having at least the same advantage over Whites in this as they do on Maths and Science.

This doesn't seem to have been the case on the SAT, with much ink spilled over the whys and wherefores. So this is curious.

Also on Asia, because this is the newest iSteve PISA thread, China previously, as reported by AKarlin, gave a whole country figure for their PISA in 2009, and until we see what they would give in this one, we can estimate their performance:

Shanghai-2009 - 575, Shanghai-2013 - 580

Japan 2009 - 539, Japan 2013 - 547

Korea 2009 - 538, Korea 2013 - 538

Hong Kong 2009 - 549, Hong Kong 2013 - 555

Singapore 2009 - 542, Singapore 2013 - 551

So rises of of 5, 8, 0, 6, 9.

Averages out to a rise of 5.5 points

China 2009 - 520, estimated China 2013 - 525

Slightly less than Vietnam at 528 or White Americans at 528, if accurate. But not particularly significantly.

d..... said...

"The children of rocket scientists?" (In my defense, this was a relatively new witticism in 1979.)"

Missy: Yep. I'm always bragging to my friends about my brother, the Rocket Scientist.
[Sheldon looks in disbelief.]
Sheldon: You tell people I'm a Rocket Scientist?!
Missy: Well yeah.
Sheldon: I'm a theoretical physicist.
Missy: What's the difference?
Sheldon: What's the difference?!
My God! Why don't you just tell them I'm a toll taker at the Golden Gate Bridge! Rocket Scientist, how humiliating!

Anonymous said...

Another illustration of Connecticut's troubled Hispanic population.


Kodhambo said...

There is a bit more to this; you can get the origin of a state's Hispanic population using ACS or the website (e.g.
Then you can crosstab Hispanic population by origin and HIspanic test scores.

This indicates the following:

1. The MASSACHUSSETS Hispanics are more than 60% Puerto Rican or Dominican; the test scores closely follow the blacks.

2. The Connecticut Hispanics include Mexicans, Central Americans, Dominicans, But Puerto Ricans are the most numerous. As such, weighing thefour test scores by origin, it is possible to get the Hispanic tet score.

3. Howevever, Florida test scores cannot be predicted easily; there are more than 10 Hispanic origins that contribute more than 5%, and Cubans are only the second largest (????). Also, FL is the most confused with a large number of White Cubans.

It appears the state score differences are driven by origin, and it is not easy to make claims that the Massachussets educational complex is working magic with its Hispanics, and Connecticut screwing them. I am awaiting Texas and California results for CRossTan abalysis.

dearieme said...

In 1946 Harvard became the oldest university under the Stars and Stripes.

Anonymous said...

"We can see patterns here that shouldn't be unexpected. Massachusetts, home to the education-industrial complex since 1636, has smart whites. Connecticut, home to the hedge fund industry, has smart whites. Florida, not so much."

I wonder how well the whites and Asians of Massachusetts and Connecticut would do if they had to go to school with Florida's blacks? Places like Florida are were the rubber hits the road in ending the racial gap in education.

Anonymous said...

So it turns out that Japanese and Koreans and Taiwanese are about as smart as white people in Massachusetts (or vice versa).


Dahlia said...

My big take-away on Florida and PISA was that Florida was crazy-brave putting itself on the line like that. Massachusetts, Connecticut... Florida? The first two are showing off ;) they already know they're awesome. So why is Florida the only state of the remaining 48 to sign itself up for this?
No Florida article was surprised at the results or were upset; they had a very healthy attitude toward the whole thing.

Anonymous said...

Cocoa Beach, FL was where the Mercury astronauts partied hard, if you remember your Tom Wolfe.

Education Realist said...

What gets me is the huge gap among African Americans from different states. Trust me, I'd love to believe that Mass is just doing a better job. But that seems unlikely. Equally unlikely is the idea that blacks in Mass are just smarter. I'm willing to buy the idea that Mass and CT have a much larger supply of smart whites, but both cities' black population is primarily inner city, is it not?

Ed said...

@Education Realist Sowell often writes about the Army during WW1 finding that Northern Black recruits scoring higher than Southern White recruits on average.

Also I don't think Boston was a big magnet for poor rural Southern Blacks. So MA Blacks wouldn't be dragged down by the backward ways of rural migrants and would be left to emulate the mores of their White neighbors.

There are also significant Black immigrant communities from Cape Verde and Haiti. I saw one of Skip Gates roots shows where he did the genealogy of some gay Black clergymen. His ancestors were from Cape Verde.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous@12/4/13, 2:17 PM

" So it turns out that Japanese and Koreans and Taiwanese are about as smart as white people in Massachusetts (or vice versa)."

yeah, the Asian Americans are just below Shanghai.

Anonymous said...

Black and Hispanic scores are higher than expected because of their large dropout rate in freshman and early sophmore years. PISA tests are given to students from age 15 years 3 months, to 16 years 2 months. Jaime Escalante's modest success in L.A. was attributed in part to the fact that 50% of Hispanic students dropped out just after freshman year.

FD said...

"The standard deviation is supposed to be 100"

For the entire sample of tested students, right? What are the standard deviations for the subpopulations in question? The means may not show the whole picture.

eah said...

Florida, not so much.

Another possible explanation: all the Jews who retired to Florida were - naturally - too old to have kids.

theory said...

Chuck Lorre and Steve Sailer are actually the same guy.

Anonymous said...

Cape Verdeans have been a substantial percentage of blacks in Massachusetts for a while; Haitians are a more recent trend. They are also responsible for a substantial percentage of the murders in Boston in recent years.

A good number of the rest are from the Talented Tenth. They come here to attend one of our many universities and quite a few decide to stay in Deep Blue Massachusetts. Minimal cracka exposure here, just occasional run-ins with Southie xenophobes.

orionoir said...

as a longtime connecticut resident, i'm amazed re how confident many are in conclusions w/o basis in fact. setting aside the issue re inherent abilities of racial groups, it might be helpful to know:

* ct funds education on a town by town basis, resulting in extreme disparity of financing;

* hedge fund land exists only in a handful of towns... while per capita income is skewed up, statewide medians are not;

* ct cities such as bridgeport, new haven, hartford, have more in common with detroit than boston, the latter not having hollowed itself by white flight;

* ct and mass are disproportionately suburban and segregated by housing, etc: i'd hazard this is more important that yale et al. (a mile from its fortress campus life is very grim indeed.)

MattG said...

"The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is the largest nationally representative and continuing assessment of what America's students know and can do in various subject areas."

All the results are broken down by state, race, and grade level. Percentages and comparisons are already done to demonstrate which states have done the most to narrow the "achievement gap" (WV wins again).

Please review and comment.