Proficiency

PROFICIENCY….The Washington Post reports on the NAEP’s first test of economics literacy among high school seniors:

Slightly more than four out of 10 12th-graders tested, or 42 percent, demonstrated proficiency in economics, the data showed.

….Economics courses are required for graduation in only about a third of the states, the study found, but 87 percent of seniors reported some exposure to economics in high school.

So here’s the state of play. Among high school seniors, 35% are proficient in reading and 23% are proficient in math, but 42% are alleged to be proficient in economics.

Question: how can you be “proficient” in economics if you aren’t also proficient in reading and math? Does that make any sense?

Note also that 42% of seniors are proficient in economics even though most of them have only “some exposure” to the subject. Conversely, proficiency in reading and math are lower despite 12 consecutive years of education in both subjects.

Something is wrong with this picture.

BY THE WAY: Am I the only person driven up a tree by newspaper reporters who insist on using “more than four out of ten,” “close to a quarter,” “nearly three-fifths,” and so forth when they write stories like this? I mean, is that even remotely helpful? Is there anyone on the planet who’s going to understand terms like that who doesn’t also understand a simple percentage? Wouldn’t it be more helpful (and more accurate) to present all the numerical data the same way so that it’s easier to compare?

I’ve griped about this before, haven’t I? Sorry. It’s hard to remember sometimes.

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