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What Do Test Scores Really Mean for the Economy?

Author/s: 
Eric A. Hanushek
Published Date: 
June 4, 2018
Publication: 
Education Week
Details: 
37(34)
Pages: 
29

Putting our heads in the sand is not the right answer. Test scores today say a lot about what our labor force will look like over the coming decades.

Putting our heads in the sand is not the right answer. Test scores today say a lot about what our labor force will look like over the coming decades. Our current students' skills will dictate our economic future in the long run. Understanding the implications of higher skills—as measured by regular standardized tests—provides a way of assessing how our country as a whole will fare in the coming years.

It is well-documented that people with a better education tend to earn more over their lifetimes. But fewer people understand the overall effects of an educated society on the economy. Research I have done with my German colleague Ludger Woessmann over the past decade shows a clear link between nations' scores on international math and science tests and their economic-growth rates between 1960 and 2000.