01/02/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Is TIMSS Meaningful?

The next round of TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study) hits the street a week from today. A TIMSS staffer tells me I will find them "interesting." No further revelations.

It might be good to keep a few things in mind when considering the data:

1. The Institute for Management Development rates the U. S. #1 in global competitiveness.

2. The World Economic Forum ranks the U. S. #1 in global competitiveness.

4. "The fact is that test-score comparisons tell us little about the quality of education in any country." (Iris Rotberg, Education Week June 11, 2008).

5. "That the U. S., the world's top economic performing country, was found to have schooling attainments that are only middling casts fundamental doubts on the value, and approach, of these surveys." British economist, S. J. Prais, PISA According to PISA, p. 154 (a terrible title since the chapters, all by European researchers, severely criticize PISA).