Vol. 3 No. 4 (2008): Rankings of International Achievement Test Performance and Economic Strength: Correlation or Conjecture?
Examining a popular political notion, this article presents results from a series of Spearman Rho calculations conducted to investigate relationships between countries’ rankings on international tests of mathematics and science and future economic competitiveness as measured by the 2006 World Economic Forum’s Growth Competitiveness Index (GCI). The study investigated the existence of relationships between international test rankings from three different time periods during the last 50 years of U.S. education policy development (i.e., 1957–1982, 1983–2000, and 2001–2006) and 2006 GCI ranks. It extends previous research on the topic by investigating how GCI rankings in the top 50 percent and bottom 50 percent relate to rankings on international tests for the countries that participated in each test. The study found that the relationship between ranks on international tests of mathematics and science and future economic strength is stronger among nations with lower-performing economies. Nations with strong economies, such as the United States, demonstrate a weaker, nonsignificant relationship.