Category Archives: Global

PISA results: American kids did not do well

n Tuesday the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development released the 2012 scores for the Program for International Student Assessment, commonly known as PISA, the international reading, math, and science exam of 15-year-olds. The United States did not do well: Compared with their peers in the 33 other OECD nations around the world, American teens ranked 17th in reading, 21st in science, and 26th in math. The top-performing region was Shanghai.

Clearly, there are lessons to learn in here.

Source: Slate.

The Shanghai Secret

Shanghai’s secret is simply its ability to execute more of these fundamentals in more of its schools more of the time. Take teacher development. Shen Jun, Qiangwei’s principal, who has overseen its transformation in a decade from a low-performing to a high-performing school — even though 40 percent of her students are children of poorly educated migrant workers — says her teachers spend about 70 percent of each week teaching and 30 percent developing teaching skills and lesson planning. That is far higher than in a typical American school.

Source: NYTimes.com.

Equality over Excellence?

For starters, Finland has no standardized tests. The only exception is what’s called the National Matriculation Exam, which everyone takes at the end of a voluntary upper-secondary school, roughly the equivalent of American high school.

Instead, the public school system’s teachers are trained to assess children in classrooms using independent tests they create themselves. All children receive a report card at the end of each semester, but these reports are based on individualized grading by each teacher. Periodically, the Ministry of Education tracks national progress by testing a few sample groups across a range of different schools.

Source: The Atlantic.