Uniquely Diverse? Deconstructing the Myth of American Exceptionalism


by Jennifer Craw

 

Many Americans believe that comparisons between performance of students in the United States and other countries are unfair or irrelevant because top-performing countries are homogeneous while the U.S. is uniquely diverse. Yet the latest release from OECD’s Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) shows us that, compared to the U.S., several top-performing education systems have at least as high or even a much higher proportion of teachers teaching classes with more than 10 percent of students whose first language is different from the language of instruction. This is true of the Netherlands, New Zealand and Alberta (Canada) – jurisdictions in which, according to PISA, students perform at least a full year ahead of U.S. students on mathematics. Read more about how these countries approach equity in education in CIEB’s country profiles.