Total solar irradiance reconstructed between 1978 and 2003 using solar surface magnetic field distributions is compared with three composites of total solar irradiance measurements. A good correspondence is found with the total solar irradiance composite from PMOD/WRC, with no bias between the three cycles. The agreement with the other composites (the ACRIM composite, mainly based on the Active Cavity Radiometer Irradiance Monitors I, II, and III, and the IRMB composite from the Institut Royal Meteorologique Belgique) is significantly poorer. In particular, a secular increase in the irradiance exhibited by these composites is not present in the reconstructions. Hence any secular trend in total solar irradiance between 1978 and 2003 is not due to magnetic fields at the solar surface.