Tuesday, December 6, 2016

What America Can Learn About Smart Schools

What America Can Learn About Smart Schools in Other Countries
written by Amanda Ripley
2016 (New York Times)


The results from the 2015 PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) were released today. Fifteen year old students from seventy-two countries were tested in math, reading, science, and problem solving. Amanda Ripley, from the New York Times, wrote a compelling article about the results. For me, here was the money part of her report:

Here's what the models show: Generally speaking, the smartest countries tend to be those that have acted to make teaching more prestigious and selective: directed more resources to their neediest children; enrolled most children in high-quality preschools; helped schools establish cultures of constant improvement; and applied rigorous, consistent standards across all classrooms. Of all the lessons learned, the United States has employed only one at scale: A majority of states recently adopted more consistent and challenging learning goals, known as the Common Core Standards, for reading and math.

Other interesting findings from the report:


  • One in four boys and girls reported that they expect to work in a science-related occupation but opt for very different ones: girls mostly seek positions in the health sector and boys  in becoming ICT professionals, scientists or engineers.
  • Nearly 20% of students in OECD countries, on average, do not attain the baseline level of proficiency in reading. This proportion has remained stable since 2009.


  • How much time students spend learning and how science is taught are even more strongly associated with science performance and the expectations of pursuing a science-related career than how well-equipped and staffed the science department is and science teachers’ qualifications.
You can find the full report here

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