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Thursday, December 5, 2013

PISA scores

There is a lot of media buzz about the most recent PISA scores.  PISA is one of those international tests used to rank different country's education systems.  Most of it negatively impacting the view of public education in the U.S.   Diane Ravitch counters that with a look at the historical trends in US achievement on international tests.  A few of the quotable statement from her blog:

  • "Over the past half century, our students have typically scored at or near the median, or even in the bottom quartile."
  • "The point worth noting here is that U.S. students have never been top performers on the international tests. We are doing about the same now on PISA as we have done for the past half century."
  • "Does it matter?"
  • "Despite having been proved wrong for the past half century, the Bad News Industry is in full cry, armed with the PISA scores, expressing alarm, fright, fear, and warnings of imminent economic decline and collapse."
  • "Never do they explain how it was possible for the U.S. to score so poorly on international tests again and again over the past half century and yet still emerge as the world’s leading economy, with the world’s most vibrant culture, and a highly productive workforce."
Check it out, its an eye opening read for citizens worried about the impact of poor performance on our future.


Monday, December 2, 2013

Support Common Core

Here's a great article support the Common Core with specific examples of rigorous lessons as they are intended to be presented.  As a teacher I always believed it was far more important to understand conceptually, rather than remember factoids.  Thinking skills include open ended questions being wrestled with, and students experimenting with ways to find an appropriate answer.  If you compare this learning to the exercise of memorizing a single correct response it should not be difficult to see where the value is. This is the power of American Education that can maintain a superior economy through innovation.