More words from me, I can't seem to shut up on this topic.
28th place without any context doesn't mean much. It occurs to me that last night I was posting some numbers but didn't post my data source. As near
as I can tell the article this OP references is speaking of the 2012 tests as the 2015 ones just happened and won't have scores calculated and
published until dec 2016. The PISA test happens every 3 years. There are also some peculiar methodologies at work in these tests. First of all
scores are scaled so that they can be comparable, the easy way to explain what this means is that not all students worldwide are taking the same test
material. This should be obvious for something like the reading portion of a test (which was the focus of the 2012 tests), you should expect a child
in France to be reading French and in the US to be reading English. But this means they're going over different content, it's not like you can just
hand some translated Shakespeare to a Chinese student. This means that the testing is easier in some nations than in others.
This also holds true for Math and Science, the constant in these tests isn't course content or grade level but rather age. It tests students between
15.25 and 16.25 years of age, and the nations giving the testing can choose which students take the test so long as they submit ungraded results from
at least 5000 students (or all if they don't have 5000). Some nations submit scores from a general population while others only submit from their
Next, I took the published results and used those for my replies last night but since it was late and I was tired I didn't post the composite results
I was using. So to fix that here are the scores by nation adding all portions together. The mean should be about 1500, and the scale is from 0-3000
but no one scores that high or low.
China Shanghai, China 1763
Hong Kong, China 1661
South Korea 1628
Macau, China 1568
New Zealand 1528
United Kingdom 1507
Czech Republic 1500
United States 1476
United Arab Emirates 1324
Costa Rica 1277
For those who aren't math people here are those same scores plotted on a line graph.
If you look at this graph you'll see something interesting and I mentioned this in my posts last night (back a page or two). The score starts out
high and drops off rapidly down to 8th place. The gap between 1st and 8th is 185 points. However the next gap of 185 points takes place from 9th all
the way down to Greece at 42 where the dropoff once again accelerates. This means that placing isn't on a uniform scale. There is less of a gap
between 20th and 30th as between 4th and 6th. What this means for the US and their 29th place in the composite score is that things aren't so bad.
The state of education as a whole isn't anywhere near as messed up as some of the posts here indicate.
What's most interesting about the US scores is the 3 states that submitted scores on their own. Florida is down with third world countries in
education but Massachusetts and Connecticut are even scoring above Scandinavian countries with good education systems like Norway and Switzerland.
If anything this data, rather than being an argument that Common Core is broken and needs to be repealed is actually a statement that it doesn't go
far enough, because despite the minimum standards it's creating we have a gap in the US where our better states have public schools among the top
education quality in the world while our worse states might as well not even bother sending kids to school, yet despite that our average score is
putting us right in the group among developed nations where everyone is pretty close together. There is virtually no difference between 28th place
and 20th place for example.
a reply to: crazyewok
Striving to be #1 is a great goal, but what is the cost? I attended an elite private high school, I have 4 college degrees and working on my 5th. I
think I can speak quite a bit on the virtues of education. In my mind education is about two things, empowering a person to do the type of labor they
want to do, and improving ones quality of life. All to often I see the calls to emulate the Asian method of education which is extremely long days,
very hard material, extensive memorization, and high pressure. The students who go through this are absolutely miserable during their school years
and are seeing little to no advantage in their professional lives though they do test better.
To me, this says that method is lowering quality of life which goes against one my goals in education which makes me think we shouldn't worry about
trying to get #1 on the tests. If our students are capable of performing adequately and being competitive in global markets while also being happy
and enjoying life I think that's a much better outcome than systems where student suicide rates are through the roof.
edit on 15-5-2015 by
Aazadan because: (no reason given)