11 Dec

I came across an interesting article in Education Week.  The heading is quite deceiving.  It states “U.S. Math, Science Achievement Exceeds World Average”.  Wow – that’s good news, huh?  We’re not only ABOVE average but we EXCEED average.   Right?  Many people would not read on.  However, if you do read on, this is what you’ll find.

“The most striking contrast comes in the 8th grade, where nearly half of all students tested in South Korea, Singapore, and Chinese Taipei (Taiwan) reached the “advanced” level in math, compared with only 7 percent of American test-takers, according to the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, or TIMSS, for 2011.”  50% versus 7%.  That’s not so good, is it.

But, we’re doing okay in the US, right?  We’ve exceeded the average, right?  Yes, the average was 500 and we came in at 509.  The highest scoring country was South Korea at 613.  That doesn’t sound like EXCEEDING to me.  That sounds like barely scraping by.  That sounds like a C+ in grading standards.

It gets even bleaker.  These results are for the TIMSS test.  The countries participating in this test comparison “… includes a number of less developed nations on the lower end of the achievement scale, such as Morocco, Yemen, and Indonesia, that help push the average downward.”  On other tests, such as PISA, the data  “are based on a set of industrialized nations”.  So how do U.S. students fare in PISA comparisons?  U.S. students were lower than average.  LOWER THAN AVERAGE!  Now PISA tests 15 year old’s and TIMSS tests 13 year old’s, but really… is that one-to-two year difference really that much of a factor?

Our future is bleak my fellow countrymen.  It is bleak unless we, as parents, start to take the education of our children seriously and make it a priority over sports and extra curricular activities.  It begins and ends at home.


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