Poverty and educational achievement in the US: A less-biased estimate using PISA 2012 data

Source: David Rutkowski, Leslie Rutkowski, Justin Wild & Nathan Burroughs, Journal of Children and Poverty, Published online: November, 23 2017
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From the abstract:
In the current paper, we employ the most recent Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) data to calculate a less-biased estimate of poverty on US achievement. The PISA was specifically chosen as it is an assessment removed from a specific curriculum and instead focuses on concepts that students should know in order to participate in a global economy. Using a propensity score matching approach, our findings suggest that US students in poverty have notable educational attainment deficiencies compared to a matched group of students who are not in poverty. In other words, when we select two students who have a great deal in common but for the fact that one comes from a poverty background, the student in poverty is expected to perform nearly 28 points, or about a quarter of a standard deviation lower, on the PISA assessment. In real terms, this puts math achievement for children not in poverty on-par with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) average, while children in poverty are well below the OECD average.