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The PISA 2016 results are in

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posted on Dec, 6 2016 @ 05:30 PM
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I've been patiently waiting for this report to be published for a year now. For those who are unaware, PISA is a very influential international test for academic performance. Just about every story you read about a nations academic placing for high schoolers comes from the PISA test. It's conducted once every 3 years and covers reading, science, and math with extra emphasis on one of those three subjects, for a 9 year cycle. It takes about a year to grade and publish the test, so the results that have just released were for a test taken in 2015. The test uses 15 year olds (I think, could be +/- a year) and each nation submits their own schools/students to the test.

Some nations like China and Taiwan only submit their top performers to score higher while other nations like the US and most of Europe give the test to all of their students for a more comprehensive picture. Additionally, several US states submitted individual scores so they can compare themselves to the US or other nations.

The timing on this release is a bit awkward for me to right a full post/analysis on since I'm in the middle of finals week, and the rush to get everything finished, but I wanted to write a little something about it and maybe others can expand.

I'm having some trouble tracking down the raw data right now, but from the articles I've read online it sounds like scores are down across the board, so much so that in New Zealand's case their score dropped 6 points (out of effectively a 400 point scale) and they rose 6 places in the international rankings.

For the US, it looks like we've gone down further in math from 36th place to 40th place, but in reading and science we're 24th and 25th respectively and overall the US (like most nations) scores below average. For context though, you need to understand how the scoring works. Some nations who manipulate their rankings at the top score much higher than everyone else. I haven't seen the most recent raw data yet, but in all previous tests, scores between 1st-8th place or so drop off rapidly, but then level out. In the previous test there was a bigger gap between 7th and 8th place as between 8th and 42nd, it's probably similar this time.

Rather than looking at how we score as a nation though, I think it would be more effective to look at how we score as states. Massachusetts ranked very highly, like always. If they were their own nation, they would have one of the worlds top 10 high school systems according to these tests. North Dakota ranked average.

Edit: Found an article with the raw data
www.businessinsider.com...

That math score is pretty concerning, looking at the curve of how scores decline we're in the steep part towards the back, which implies it will be hard to turn things around, but easy to do worse. The article doesn't list state scores though.

Edit again. Here's the report on the US
www.oecd.org...

Of note in the US report, socioeconomic status is worth about 90 points in the US while in nations like Canada and most of Europe it's worth 70 points. To put that in perspective, 30 points correlates to about one year of additional schooling. I'm still not seeing the state by state breakdown though (just a few instances of Massachusetts and North Carolina are in that pdf), perhaps that part hasn't been published yet.
edit on 6-12-2016 by Aazadan because: (no reason given)




posted on Dec, 7 2016 @ 10:33 PM
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Had some time today to think about these scores a bit more and then a little bit of time to throw them into a spreadsheet before I pass out for the night. While the US is sliding down in math, our reading and science scores were actually slightly improved and our score across the board went up as well. I summed all of the categories and added the points. No curves right now, just scores. But under this system the US comes in 31st, which is actually better than where we were 3 years ago, though the math portion is concerning. If anyone else is interested in this data I'll paste it. So really, we're not doing too bad, though it is an indication that common core math may not be working well enough in all states.

singapore 1655
hong kong 1598
japan 1586
macao 1582
estonia 1573
canada 1571
taiwan 1571
finland 1568
korea 1557
china 1543
ireland 1528
slovenia 1528
germany 1524
netherlands 1524
switzerland 1519
new zealand 1517
denmark 1513
norway 1513
poland 1511
belgium 1508
australia 1507
vietnam 1507
united kingdom 1499
portugal 1491
france 1487
sweden 1487
austria 1477
russia 1476
spain 1475
czech republic 1472
united states 1463
latvia 1460
italy 1456
luxembourg 1450
iceland 1443
croatia 1426
lithuania 1425
hungary 1424
israel 1416
buenos aires 1406
malta 1391
slovak republic 1389
greece 1376
kazakhstan 1343
Chile 1329
malaysia 1320
bulgaria 1319
cyprus 1313
romania 1313
UAE 1298
Uruguay 1290
Turkey 1273
Trinidad 1269
Argentina 1266
Moldova 1264
Montenegro 1256
Costa Rica 1247
Mexico 1247
Albania 1245
Thailand 1245
Colombia 1231
Qatar 1222
Georgia 1216
Jordan 1197
Indonesia 1186
Brazil 1185
Peru 1182
Lebanon 1129
Tunisia 1114
Macedonia 1107
Kosovo 1087
Algeria 1086
Dominican Republic 1018



posted on Jan, 8 2017 @ 02:10 PM
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Seen your link in another post and thought I'd comment since education reform is one of my passions.

While I can respect what good lays in testing standards, I also see it as an obstacle of education too. These tests seemingly create a divide on learning as a whole, and can encourage limitations to what is learned and when.

While I agree with your stance on universities being in a good position in terms of how they relate to the rest of the world, but I feel the ways we transition our youth to the stages of being college ready is flawed. Of course, the limitations standardized testing only play a small role in this flawed system. The biggest negative factors I would conclude are the lack of equal access to top educators, not involving youth in community based programs from young ages, and not exposing the youth to the world enough to successfully pursue a career.

If a child was exposed to a few hundred or thousand hours of community service by the time they enter the choices of college or not, then the career of which they spent all that money on would more likely lead to a degree in a field of interest that 'IS ALREADY ESTABLISHED'. I don't want to see kids spending all that money on guesses quite like happens nowadays.

Essentially... the kids should be steering the ship on education reform, and the adults should simply chaperone the kids through the system & ask questions. Adults have developed their prejudices and belief structure too much to steer education into a unified direction. A department of government will only complicate these things... and the standards they provide are limiting potential of our youth.



posted on Jan, 8 2017 @ 02:15 PM
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Also, it saddens me to see topics like this created only to fall on blind eyes. To think that so many put their energy into things like emails, race, and stupid things done by people yet what really steers our country is ignored. I had about the same level of response when I made a thread that was education related.

Be Well!



posted on Jan, 8 2017 @ 09:10 PM
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a reply to: ttobban

Equal access to top educators isn't really possible, ideal ratios are only around 15 students to 1 teacher. There's just too many students to give everyone access to the very best of the best. Everyone should get competent instructors though, and in several states they do, in other states though they don't.

It's something that I'm not quite sure how to fix. Everyone likes having input into their local school districts curriculum, but this leads to some areas just not properly educating students. In the worst case scenario you have states that treat intelligent design as fact and evolution as an alternative theory.

When it comes to community service, I don't think it would work out like you expect. I attended a private high school, and part of our degree was some number of hours of community service each semester, I think it was 25. Most of us just worked on school projects, or would occasionally set things up with our after school jobs to work a weekend or two unpaid. This gets harder to implement these days, because the rules on unpaid labor are now much stricter due to a mostly successful attempt to eliminate unpaid internships.

I think the big issue with education is that people go directly from high school to college with no life experience in between. Having a year or two to figure out what you want to do would be beneficial. But my point in this thread had more to do with grade school. I'm in a position in my life where it's tough to talk about grade school now, I'm 16 years removed from graduating high school and I have no children so I'm not seeing it through them. I remember what it was like for me, and occasionally with some of the younger college students I talk to, I hear what it was like for them but that's not really enough to form an opinion from.

From the PISA tests though, it appears to me that what we're doing is working. We're doing better in math than we were, and our reading/science scores are respectable. The US system in my opinion strikes a good balance between teaching material while not consuming peoples lives. Halfway between Finland and Singapore. And this is what makes improvement difficult, I don't think we should add more hours to the school day, but there's no doubt there's more to learn now. That means we either need to start cutting some material, or adding more years to schooling.



posted on Jan, 8 2017 @ 09:40 PM
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Being an information junkie all my life, I find it hard to believe that kids walking around with all the information the world has to offer in their hands, scored so poorly.

Growing up, I lived in the library, whenever I could, reading anything I could get my hands on. When older, at least once a week I was at the National Library of Congress to pick up the stack of books I requested, to research some idea or bit of information that left me with an itch that needed scratching.

I read dictionaries and encyclopedias, the way most people read novels. I just don't understand why with information so easily available that our children are not better educated.



posted on Jan, 9 2017 @ 12:14 PM
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a reply to: NightSkyeB4Dawn

You don't get internet access when taking tests



posted on Jan, 9 2017 @ 01:12 PM
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Some ramblings here. First, one of the reasons for No Child Left Behind was concern over test scores from other nations. American students had to do better! They must become like those foreign students! Our school system must become like those foreign school systems!

What Americans failed to notice, however, is that schools exist in a national culture. American schools (even at the lower levels) extend beyond academics to providing a social life (dances, proms, clubs) and a sports life (school teams along with cheer squads and marching bands). Other countries have such things primarily in the community (if at all), not as part of the school.

And while students in India and China might look up to Bill Gates as a hero, American students focus more on sports and media heroes. An Asian student would face being forced by his/her parents to get tutoring for getting an A-, whereas an American student would be allowed to get by with a D-. Other nations place a value on science and math, whereas (unlike the 1950-60s with the the Space Program) America devalues science and math; it was thought that if you just FORCE students to take science and math, they would learn to love it, by golly!

Once NCLB was in place, testing businesses soon recognized a govt cash cow. All a teacher had to do was teach to the test, and all a student had to do was learn what was to be on a test. Problem solved!

The idea that American public schools were ineffective overlooked the discrepancies among states and income levels. Some states were horrible with their education system (ex. Louisiana), while others in the Northeast were exceptional. Family Income levels could mean as much as a 100 point difference in standardized test scores.

We have never done as well on PISA as other countries! Even the PISA group says not to use it for a comparison of education systems, because PISA measures beyond just formal education to include factors outside of education. It might be better to focus on what those other countries are doing outside of formal education to support their students, but in America the focus has been to blame one factor, public schools. We seem to not be able to view all the facets of a problem but instead find a scapegoat.



posted on Jan, 10 2017 @ 08:38 PM
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a reply to: Aazadan

My visions/ideas about restructuring education comes from a philosophers/inventors point of view... which means the entire base concept will need to be reset in order to redirect the progress of our youths educational traditions into new forms of what defining education means. I have what I feel is solid concepts of it and I will explain some basic operational characteristics.

* First, lets define education as 'our youths upbringing in society' instead of 'listen to what is told, okay.'
* Next, please understand that I feel the importance of human to human connection should be put at an emphasis that is equal to or greater than the knowledge received. The internet removes a large portion of it, and we must allow for a platform for our youth to circumvent those aspects of internet... a platform of which is steered by the youth themselves.

Well, the easiest way to explain this is to explain one brick & mortar operational concepts, then you can assume for yourself how the internet automatically stabilizes the network. So, in a city 2 brick and mortar community centers are built... one in a rich section... the other in a poverty stricken section. These open access centers provide daily child care to working parents, yet is a self governed based on the needs within the community. Who is an educator currently helps with the logistics of the centers and students, and essentially acts as a mediator to the top educators.

Next, these brick & mortar centers are put onto a network... kind of set up like craigslist... with an endless supply of knowledge paths to use, links to giving/receiving charity benefits. The best educators become magnetic, get paid off of link volume like youtubers do, and they don't even have to follow up on the success of the knowledge absorption... the mediators facilitate things at a center level... the children steer their interests to what is learned.

Now the community service part... tuition does not come in the form of money. Each enrolled student will display where they wish to choose to assist their community. And, a log of community service hours will be logged... along with the lessons participated in.

No more old fashioned education... it must be molded to bring humans together. No more 'tests indicates xyz'... time to develop a passion for one another and stop putting self promotion before love. I want scholarships going to the kids that have spent years in the trenches, building humanity... not to the ones that can hold equations locked in their head for an upcoming test.

I don't care how much somebody knows once I know how much they care.

Trust me, these concepts will allow for graduates to return to the network and create a vacuum of community building at a higher rate then occurs now... it is nearly extinct in today's world... the system is not trusted as a whole.

You said yourself that you spent a limited number of hours in the community as compared to what they spent forcing folders of held knowledge into your head. I think the concepts I provided can commonly lead to situations that would cause a graduate to forego college. Maybe a student spent years in a particular community service passion, was aided in starting a non profit org at age 11, and spends their days learning on how to manage the $5 million a year organization they helped create?

Personally, I could Ace most tests I took throughout school... but I rebelled to the system and I was quickly removed from the setting for not conforming. I had to work full time throughout high school, so I opted to skip home work. Now, my brain carries things such as, schematics of electric cars that don't need to be plugged in. Maybe we'd all be driving them right now if I wasn't shunned from the school system?



posted on Jan, 11 2017 @ 11:23 AM
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originally posted by: ttobban
* First, lets define education as 'our youths upbringing in society' instead of 'listen to what is told, okay.'
* Next, please understand that I feel the importance of human to human connection should be put at an emphasis that is equal to or greater than the knowledge received. The internet removes a large portion of it, and we must allow for a platform for our youth to circumvent those aspects of internet... a platform of which is steered by the youth themselves.


Part of what is taught is how to function in society, but another part of what is taught is actual skills. Proper schooling in my opinion teaches soft skills like being personable and the art of negotiation alongside hard skills like math, science, personal finance, and writing/oration. We don't do it now, but in my opinion this should go double for compulsory education where the idea is to teach basic life skills and churn out a self sufficient adult.

The problem with youth steered education is that with the exception of only very rare individuals, youth don't know what they don't know, and they don't account for that in their decisions. This is a rare trait even in adults.


Next, these brick & mortar centers are put onto a network... kind of set up like craigslist... with an endless supply of knowledge paths to use, links to giving/receiving charity benefits. The best educators become magnetic, get paid off of link volume like youtubers do, and they don't even have to follow up on the success of the knowledge absorption... the mediators facilitate things at a center level... the children steer their interests to what is learned.


This basically turns education into infotainment, and the whole thing eventually devolves into the current 24/7 news model. You can't rate by popularity, because useful things to know aren't necessarily popular, and the classes might not be fun. For example, since I can speak about Computer Science, Automata is extremely boring even with an interesting professor, but if you want to have a proper knowledge base for certain types of CS jobs, you have to learn it. Absorbing the knowledge is absolutely critical in order to take the next step.


Now the community service part... tuition does not come in the form of money. Each enrolled student will display where they wish to choose to assist their community. And, a log of community service hours will be logged... along with the lessons participated in.


Tuition here still comes from money. Instructors have to get paid, what you'll end up with is a model where businesses hire a teachers students, those students go out and work and earn money for the professor in exchange for being given knowledge. The problem here is that not every class is actually viable for employment, especially for a high schooler. It's been a long time so I don't recall my HS curriculum perfectly anymore, but I remember at one point I took microbiology, which had/has no impact on my job prospects. At another point I took personal finance, a very useful class (one that I'm surprised is only a mere elective in a handful of schools)... again, a useful life skill but not something that really generates potential revenue for my instructor. At another point I went above and beyond in my Math classes taking everything that was available as electives. Some of those like Geometry are important, but again have little commercial value for me, others like statistics merely made taking college level statistics easier, yet others like discrete mathematics have offered little in the way of direct employable skills but changed my entire approach to math and problem solving, which has been of enormous benefit to me in life.



No more old fashioned education... it must be molded to bring humans together. No more 'tests indicates xyz'... time to develop a passion for one another and stop putting self promotion before love. I want scholarships going to the kids that have spent years in the trenches, building humanity... not to the ones that can hold equations locked in their head for an upcoming test.


I always see these arguments that we shouldn't just teach to a test, but the process is that we derive standards for a class as a way of measuring how effective the class is and how effective the teachers approach is. If you don't teach to a test, what else are you going to teach to? Cramming and forgetting information is sometimes an issue, but what else are you going to do if there's not an incentive to actually learn the information (even the parts you don't want to learn)? Testing is very valuable.



Personally, I could Ace most tests I took throughout school... but I rebelled to the system and I was quickly removed from the setting for not conforming. I had to work full time throughout high school, so I opted to skip home work. Now, my brain carries things such as, schematics of electric cars that don't need to be plugged in. Maybe we'd all be driving them right now if I wasn't shunned from the school system?


If you have those schematics, what's stopping you from producing the car? It's not your education, because if you know how to build it the degree doesn't matter.



posted on Jan, 12 2017 @ 06:18 PM
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a reply to: Aazadan

We could go back and forth for ages as to what specific ways are better. I value input from any and all, and most certainly apply it to my philosophies.

Of the 5 W's, 'why' is much more valuable than any of the other 4. When repairing things/systems all areas are to be analyzed, but 'why' must never come off of the rails for positive things to come of the system in the future. I say this because... hanging onto to federalized school system common practices acts as a cancer and is limiting our youth to being factory workers with accounting degrees. Only a new concept will thrive... and thankfully they are already in action and pushing the fed out of schools.

Funding is the key reason a person does not see their ideas come to reality. Publicizing one idea is thousands to even get a chance at a patent. Then arises the concerns of which of the 6 ideas to focus on... and the fact that a skill in conceptual areas shows tendencies to be poor at optimization. I am content, but often wondered if I would have a different career or life focus if my community raised me instead of the streets. A majority of troubled youth are banning together to raise each other without proper parenting, which is of no fault of their own, and the communities are expecting these youth to go home and live as the ones who have a solid parenting foundation. While I would never endorse the lack of striving for smarter youth, which involves testing and curriculum based ambition... I merely see that a majority of the youth can get to those points in life by the community offering our youth access to hugs at a higher priority than access to ones rank in information holding.

The internet is now the community... we are sadly letting the educational paths it provides go to waste, and the mush of the internet is where they find refuge. All on their own with no guidance, just like those kids on the streets with no parents. The internet is the streets of today's world, which only puts people of the real streets in a detrimental separation.

Once again... money. It's always been odd to me that the views of these debates fall into the same stereotypes. Without even knowing your background, I can accurately stereotype that the bulk of your educational upbringing was not spent in a ghetto... I can also accurately stereotype that poor people don't feel accepted into the establishment, and that all of life's achievements happen at a slower rate, with the lack of legacy influence, and a sense of being undermined. Poor people feel, that if rich people feel its so easy to manage successes through youth years... then lets see the rich forego all ties to their finances, live where the poor live, then give an opinion on how easy it is to succeed.

Why do we allow for these divides? When who does what or where < why. Sorry for the rant!



posted on Jan, 15 2017 @ 07:06 PM
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originally posted by: ttobban
Of the 5 W's, 'why' is much more valuable than any of the other 4. When repairing things/systems all areas are to be analyzed, but 'why' must never come off of the rails for positive things to come of the system in the future. I say this because... hanging onto to federalized school system common practices acts as a cancer and is limiting our youth to being factory workers with accounting degrees. Only a new concept will thrive... and thankfully they are already in action and pushing the fed out of schools.


I understand the desire to figure out the why behind everything very well. Personality wise I'm somewhere between an INTP and INTJ, which basically means I'm fascinated by deconstructing things and figuring out how and why they work. That said, I'm very much a fan of a federalized school system but I can see other approaches. This is something of a conflict in how I think about education.

First, there's the idea that we basically treat education curriculum and standards as a large genetic algorithm (which is also the approach nature takes to evolution). Every town/district gets their own approaches, and given enough time we can see what is and isn't successful. My counter to such an approach though is that the world changes too quickly for us to generate useful metrics on what is and isn't working. An approach that generates lower test results for example may still result in more adaptable adults which would be a boon to an economy under change which is a net positive. Another issue with this approach though, is that it opens up large areas of the country to a complete failure in education and we don't get any timely feedback to correct that approach. Essentially, it makes everything ambiguous and lets each district think they're doing things right contrary to the reality that some of them will be doing things very very wrong.

On the other hand, with a federal system where everything is made more equal, there's less diversity to try new ideas which may or may not be successful. However, sample sizes are larger so feedback is increased. It requires a lot more data to make a decision. Results can only be measured against previous results rather than against different approaches.


Funding is the key reason a person does not see their ideas come to reality.


Funding is easy. Build a working prototype and banks/investors will fight over each other to back it. Protect your prototype as a trade secret, show it to investors, make them sign NDA's to view it. Use the first round of funding to secure patents. Simple. Alternatively, if you're comfortable and don't care about the money, don't patent it. Just release the blueprints for anyone to use.



Once again... money. It's always been odd to me that the views of these debates fall into the same stereotypes. Without even knowing your background, I can accurately stereotype that the bulk of your educational upbringing was not spent in a ghetto... I can also accurately stereotype that poor people don't feel accepted into the establishment, and that all of life's achievements happen at a slower rate, with the lack of legacy influence, and a sense of being undermined. Poor people feel, that if rich people feel its so easy to manage successes through youth years... then lets see the rich forego all ties to their finances, live where the poor live, then give an opinion on how easy it is to succeed.


What makes you think that? I actually come from a low income family, food stamps, cash assistance, etc. I still live in what qualifies as poverty, in one of the highest crime areas in the US. I understand very well what it's like to be poor.



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