Core Academic Knowledge
Today, when you compare American 15 year-olds to those in other nations on a combined measure of math, reading and science achievement, we are in the bottom quartile. It’s important to combine these subjects in a single view, especially reading, as I will explain later. Making these international comparisons with 15 year-olds is also a good idea, because students at that age stand at the end of the elementary school years, and their achievements at that point highly determine their later academic future. I completely agree with that view about the critical importance of the elementary grades. Those grades will be my focus in this talk.