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I guess they weren't from the United States It’s like taking home your school report to your folks. Dread! If Math were an Olympic sport, the US would struggle to make the heats in the 100 yards. Unheard of you say, but it’s true. Don’t believe me then have a look at the latest report, released by the Institute of Education Science on the 4th December 2007. “Highlights from PISA 2006: Performance of U.S. 15-Year-Old Students in Science and Mathematics Literacy in an International Context” I know your asking what the heck is a PISA 2006. Well is not a funny spelling for pizza. PISA stands for (Program for International Student Assessment), a program sponsored by Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
This report is no laughing matter. Where's the fun? As a world Superpower, our Math is rated Third World. Harsh you say. Look at the title of this report "Highlights from PISA 2006: Performance of U.S. 15-Year-Old Students in Science and Mathematics Literacy in an International Context" What highlights. I don't see many Highlights for the United States. (Remember this is the U.S. Version - to give you a fair comparisons, I also included research & quotes from the 374 page international report, plus the United States Presentation Notes) This is an international study, we, the US have come up short. We lag behind big times. Let's face it, we suck at Math & Science. You know you're struggling at math, when the powerhouses like Iceland, Hungary & Slovak Republic rate higher than the United States. Don't take my word for it, you can down a copy Now! http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2008016 ……..Or
If you prefer I’ll summarize the 74 Page report. It reads like a horror novel, Steven King would be proud of.
So what is PISA & how do we really stack up in this international report.
"PISA is a system of international assessments that measures 15-year-olds’ performance in reading literacy, mathematics literacy, and science literacy every 3 years. PISA, first implemented in 2000, is sponsored by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), an intergovernmental organization of 30 member countries. In 2006, fifty seven jurisdictions participated in PISA, including 30 OECD jurisdictions and 27 nonOECD jurisdictions (Countries)." SOURCE: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), 2006. A disturbing trend, throughout the US Highlights Report calls the other countries, Jurisdictions, while The OECD Report, just calls them countries. (Rather odd, as jurisdiction, the right, power, or authority to administer justice by hearing and determining controversies. There Countries, not another military conquest.) PISA 2006 Essentials • PISA is favored as the most comprehensive and rigorous international programme • Assessing student performance • Collecting data on the student, family and institutional factors • Helping to explain the differences in the countries performance. So you might be wondering what’s the big deal about theses PISA Reports The OECD sponsors the PISA 2006 and carries out international tests, through the PISA Consortium, led by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER), the National Institute for Educational Policy Research (NIER, Japan) The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) of the Institute of Education Sciences at the U.S More than 400 000 students in 57 countries participated in PISA 2006, which involved a twohour test with open and multiple-choice tasks .The main focus was on science and also included mathematics and reading. The final assessment consisted of 140 science items, 48 mathematics items, and 28 reading items (English) • • • • • All 30 OECD member countries participated, as well as 27 partner countries and economies In the US a total of 166 schools and 5,611 students participated in the assessment The countries participating in PISA together make up close to 90% of the world economy. Nationally-representative samples were drawn, representing 20 million 15year-olds The programme is financed by education ministries of participating countries
.Who cares & does it matter? • OECD promotes PISA because it’s concerned with skill barriers
impeding economic growth, productivity growth and rates of technological innovation One additional year of education equals to between 3 and 6% of GDP Rising college-level qualifications seem generally not to have led to an “inflation” of the labour-market value of qualifications
(In all but three of the 20 countries with available data, the earnings benefit increased between 1997 and 2003, in Germany, Italy and Hungary by between 20% and 40%) So how did we do in the PISA 2006? Results are in, Drum roll for mathematics literacy. Warning, this is scary. The 2006 PISA This PISA report focuses on the performance of U.S. students in the major subject area of science literacy as well mathematics literacy and on reading literacy. “The PISA 2006, mathematics literacy is defined as an individual’s capacity to identify and understand the role that mathematics plays in the world, to make well-founded judgments and to use and engage with mathematics in ways that meet the needs of that individual’s life as a constructive, concerned, and reflective citizen” (OECD, 2006, p.12). In fact, we're so bad at math. • The average score across the OECD Countries was 498, we only managed to average of 474 score • Of the 30 OECD Countries, 23 Countries did better than the US. the bottom 25% • We managed to sneak over the line, beating fast improving Mexico, Phew! • At least we faired better with the 27 non-OECD Countries, we were beaten by only 8 Countries • 4 Countries increased their average mathematics literacy scores (2 OECD countries, Greece and Mexico and two non-OECD countries, Brazil and Indonesia,) • So out 57 Counties, we came in an inglorious 32, did we medal?, I don't think so • We couldn't even beat Azerbaijan, there's little hope of us even spelling it • If we compare the performance of the highest achieving students—those in the 90th percentile—U.S. students scored lower (593) than the OECD average (615) on the mathematics literacy scale. It gets worse
See chart on next page to see how we stack up with the other 56 countries Lets face it Geography not one of our strong points either. Most people would not know the difference between Australia and Austria. Be warned you may not have heard of some of these countries.
NOTE: The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) average is the average of the national averages of the OECD member jurisdictions. Because the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) is principally an OECD study, the results for non-OECD jurisdictions are displayed separately from those of the OECD jurisdictions and are not included in the OECD average. Jurisdictions are ordered based on average scores, from highest to lowest within the OECD jurisdictions and non-OECD jurisdictions. Mathematics literacy scores are reported on a scale from zero to 1,000. Because of an error in printing the test booklets, the United States mean performance may be misestimated by approximately 1 score point. The impact is below one standard error. For details, see appendix B. Score differences as noted between the United States and other jurisdictions (as well as between the
NOTE: The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) average is the average of the national averages of the OECD member jurisdictions. Because the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) is principally an OECD study, the results for non-OECD jurisdictions are displayed separately from those of the OECD jurisdictions and are not included in the OECD average.
Just in case, you think it's only math, where we need to improve, have a look at science
We didn't do so crash hot in Science either • United States averaged a score of 489 on the combined science literacy scale, much lower than the OECD average score of 500 • We didn't even get a pass mark, as our U.S. students scored lower on science literacy than 16 peers from the other 29 OECD Countries • It's cold comfort, to know we managed to score higher than 21 of the 27 Non-OECD nations • So in science, we sit roughly around the middle, well below most of Europe, Canada, Japan, Korea, Australia, etc. But at least we rank higher than most of the undeveloped nations. Oh What an Achievement • It's not all bad news, at least Russia and Israel are even worse than us • Something to be proud of, 92% US 15-year-olds take some kind of science course, whether compulsory or optional (OECD average 87%). • Across science courses, 64% of students take compulsory courses (OECD average 64%) and 26% optional courses (OECD average 21%) • In Biology 52% of students, take compulsory courses (OECD average 57%) and 15% optional courses (OECD average 15%) • In Physics 17% of students, take compulsory courses (OECD average 61%) and 11% optional courses (OECD average 15%) • In Chemistry 27% of students, take compulsory courses (OECD average 60%) and 13% optional courses (OECD average 15%) Physics & Chemistry that’s a worrying trend. Guess where the next Noble Prize will come from, don’t bet on the US While the US performs below-average overall, it has an average level of top performers. • 1.5% of US 15-year-olds reach Level 6 on the science scale, demonstrating that they can consistently identify, explain and apply scientific knowledge, and knowledge about science, in a variety of complex life situations • With an average of 522 score points, Korea performs well above the OECD average while the United States, with an average score of 489 score points, performs below the OECD average. “There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island . . . and best of all, you can enjoy these riches every day of your life”. -- Walt Disney If you’re thinking, it can't get any worse. The US managed to stuff up the English section, because we couldn’t even print the test papers properly. We had a Printing mishap in the US. Can you believe this? The US the only country who didn't complete the English paper. They got zero, nothing. What a Joke "PISA 2006 reading literacy results are not reported for the United States because of an error in printing the test booklets. In several areas of the reading literacy assessment, students were incorrectly instructed to refer to the passage on the “opposite page” when, in fact, the necessary passage appeared on the previous page. Because of the small number of items used in assessing reading literacy, it was not possible to recalibrate the score to exclude the affected items. Furthermore, as a result of the printing error, the mean performance in mathematics and science may be misestimated by approximately 1 score point. The impact is below one standard error."
How does the US, stack up with the rest of the world "There was no measurable change in either the U.S. mathematics literacy score from 2003 to 2006 (483 versus 474) or the U.S. position compared to the OECD average, although scores in 11 other jurisdictions did change (table C-7). Four jurisdictions saw their average mathematics literacy scores increase (two non-OECD jurisdictions, Brazil and Indonesia, and two OECD jurisdictions, Greece and Mexico). The United States scored higher than all four of these jurisdictions in both 2003 and 2006. Seven jurisdictions’ scores (including 6 OECD jurisdictions) were lower in 2006 than 2003 in mathematics literacy, although the U.S. position compared to these seven jurisdictions did not change between 2003 and 2006." I’m so glad we take these international tests seriously “In the United States, for a variety of reasons reported by school administrators (such as increased testing requirements at the national, state, and local levels; concerns about the timing of the PISA assessment; and loss of learning time), many schools in the original sample declined to participate. The United States has had difficulty meeting the minimum response rate standards in prior years and, in 2003, opened a second data collection period in the fall of 2003 with the agreement of the PISA Consortium”. Have a look at damming statistic "Of the 236 original sampled schools, 209 were eligible (18 schools did not have any 15-year-olds enrolled, 5 had closed, and 4 were alternative schools for behavioral issues where students returned to a base school after a short period of time), and 145 agreed to participate."
Can you believe it, 18 schools did not have any 15-year-olds enrolled. Where are they? How the school lose it’s 15 years old?
To be fair, the United States conducts its own regular surveys, to measure its student progress. Through the NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress) in a variety of subjects and Ages groups. NAEP provides a regular benchmark for states and the nation. It’s a bit like the World Series, competing against ourselves, it’s more a measure of mediocrity, than a measure of progress in education. "The Nation’s Report Card™ informs the public about the academic achievement of elementary and secondary students in the United States. Report Cards communicate the findings of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), a continuing and nationally representative measure of achievement in various subjects over time." The results from the NAEP Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA) make it possible to compare the performance of students in participating urban school districts to that of public school students in the nation, in large central cities (population over 250,000), and to each other. About 38,000 fourth- and eighth-graders from 11 urban districts participated in the third TUDA in mathematics in 2007. Ten of the districts also have results for two previous assessments (2003 and 2005). Results for Austin are
reported for one earlier assessment (2005)”.
• • • •
Atlanta Austin Boston San Diego
• • •
Chicago Cleveland District of Columbia Houston
• • •
Los Angeles New York City San Diego
"The Nation’s Report Card™ informs the public about the academic achievement of elementary and secondary students in the United States. Report Cards communicate the findings of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), a continuing and nationally representative measure of achievement in various subjects over time."
At grade 4 • Eight districts showed increases compared with 2003, four districts had higher average scores compared with 2005, and one district had a lower average score in 2007 compared with 2005. • "All eight districts showing increases since 2003 also had higher percentages of students performing at or above Basic and at or above Proficient and 2 had higher percentages of students at Advanced." At grade 8 • Eight districts showed increases compared with 2003, and six districts had higher average scores than in 2005 • Of the eight districts showing score increases since 2003, seven had higher
percentages of students at or above Basic, six had higher percentages at or above Proficient, and four had higher percentages at Advanced. An interesting choice of words 'Showed' & 'Showing' Not Did, not what you call definite, more political spin. If we're doing so well. How bad at Math were we last test period? Does the International Report shed any additional light, on why we’re failing at Math & Science?
Report From the Forward "Compelling incentives for individuals, economies and societies to raise levels of education have been the driving force for governments to improve the quality of educational services. The prosperity of countries now derives to a large extent from their human capital, and to succeed in a rapidly changing world, individuals need to advance their knowledge and skills throughout their lives. Education systems need to lay strong foundations for this, by fostering learning and strengthening the capacity and motivation of young adults to continue learning beyond school."
"All stakeholders – parents, students, those who teach and run education systems and the general public – therefore need good information on how well their education systems prepare students for life. Many countries monitor students’ learning in order to provide answers to this question. Comparative international assessments can extend and enrich the national picture by providing a larger context within which to interpret national performance. They can provide countries with information to judge their areas of relative strength and weakness and to monitor progress. They can also stimulate countries to raise aspirations. And they can inform national efforts to help students to learn better, teachers to teach better, and schools to become more effective." Ask yourself. How are our children going to be able to compete with the other countries' children?
Importance of Mathematics and Science “With the growing role of science, mathematics and technology in modern life, the objectives of personal fulfillment, employment and full participation in society increasingly require that all adults, not just those aspiring to a scientific career, should be mathematically, scientifically and technologically literate. The performance of a country’s best students in mathematics and related subjects may have implications for the role that that country will play in tomorrow has advanced technology sector, and for its overall international competitiveness. Conversely, deficiencies among lower-performing students in mathematics can have negative consequences for individuals’ labor-market and earnings prospects and for their capacity to participate fully in society.” PISA 2006: Science Competencies for Tomorrow’s World OECD briefing note for the United States This report, reads like it was written by one of George Bush's Speechwriters.
"What the OECD indicators have shown so far… The US can draw on the most highly educated labor force among the principal industrialized nations, when measured in terms of the formal qualifications attained by 25-to-64-year-olds in the labor force. However, this advantage is largely a result of the “firstmover advantage” which the US gained after World War II by massively increasing enrolments. While the US had, well into the 1960s, the highest high school completion rates among OECD countries, in 2005 it ranked, with a high school completion rate of 76%, 21st among the 27 OECD countries with available data, followed only by Spain, New Zealand, Portugal, Turkey and Mexico. Similar trends are visible in college education, where the US slipped between 1995 and 2005 from the 2nd to the 14th rank, not because US college graduation rates declined, but because they rose so much faster in many OECD countries. Graduate output is particularly low in science, where the number of people with a college degree per 100,000 employed 25-to-34year-olds was 1,100 compared with 1,295 on average across OECD countries and more than 2,000 in Australia, Finland, France and Korea (Education at a Glance, 2007)". Some amazing statements taken from PISA 2006: Science Competencies for Tomorrow’s World OECD briefing note for the United States. If I hadn't read the other 2 reports, I could almost believe, we're doing OK in these tests. "While the US performs below-average overall, it has an average level of top performers.” What! "The US has a comparatively large proportion of poor performers." • 24.4% of US 15-year-olds do not reach Level 2, the baseline level of achievement on the PISA scale at which students begin to demonstrate the science competencies that will enable them to participate actively in life situations related to science and technology "While average performance of 15-year-olds in the US is below the OECD average, there is less variation in performance levels among schools." • In the US 23% of all variation in students’ performance is between schools, which are below the OECD average of 33% (Table 4.1a). However, a large part of the performance differences between schools in the US is attributable to socio-economic background factors. How can this be, were talking about the richest nation on earth In other education systems, notably in Finland, parents can rely on both high and consistent performance standards across schools (less than 5% of the variation in Finnish students’ performance is between schools and the overall variation is also below the OECD average level) (Table 4.1a)
"Socio-economic disparities have a strong impact on student performance in the US". • 18% of the variation in student performance in the US is explained by students’ background – this is significantly above the OECD average of 14.4% (Table 4.4a).
"Business and industry have an above-average influence on the school curriculum." • 18% are in schools whose principals report that business and industry has no influence on the school curriculum (OECD average 36%); 67% where business and industry had a minor or indirect influence on the curriculum (OECD average 53%); and 15% where business and industry had a considerable influence on the curriculum (OECD average 11%) (Table 5.11). “US 15-year-olds achieve a mean score of 474 score points in mathematics, on a scale that had an OECD average of 498 score points” (Table 6.2c). • In relative terms, the US ranked 25th among the 30 OECD countries, but the confidence interval extends from the 24th to the 26th rank (Figure 6.20b). • In 2003, the US had a mean score of 483 points and ranked 23rd (confidence interval 22nd to 24th rank) among 29 OECD countries with comparable data and in 2000, the US ranked 18th among the 27 participating countries (confidence interval 9th to 24th rank). However, the 2000 mathematics scale is not directly comparable with the mathematics scale used in the 2003 and 2006 assessments. Can't do math but glad our confident levels are up On the PISA 2006 mathematics scale… • Four countries/economies outperform all other countries: Finland, Korea, and the partners Chinese Taipei and Hong Kong-China (Table 6.2c). • Other countries with mean mathematics performances significantly above the OECD average are the Netherlands, Switzerland, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Belgium, Australia, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Iceland and Austria, and the non-OECD countries/economies Macao-China, Liechtenstein, Estonia, and Slovenia (Table 6.2c). In mathematics, the US has a below-average proportion of top-performers. • 7.7% of US 15-year-olds reached at least Level 5 on the mathematics scale (OECD average 13%). These students can develop and work with models for complex situations, identifying constraints and specifying assumptions; select, compare, and evaluate appropriate problem solving strategies for dealing with complex problems related to these models; work strategically using broad, well-developed thinking and reasoning skills, appropriate linked representations, symbolic and formal characterizations, and insight pertaining to these situations (Table 6.2a). In mathematics, the US has a below-average proportion of top-performers. • 7.7% of US 15-year-olds reached at least Level 5 on the mathematics scale (OECD average 13%). These students can develop and work with models for complex situations, identifying constraints and specifying assumptions; select, compare, and evaluate appropriate problem solving strategies for dealing with complex problems related to these models; work strategically using broad, well-developed thinking and reasoning skills, appropriate linked representations, symbolic and formal characterizations, and insight pertaining to these situations (Table 6.2a). Level 2 considers a baseline level of mathematics proficiency at which students begin to demonstrate the kind of skills that enable them to use mathematics actively. • 72% of US 15-year-olds reach the baseline level 2 of mathematics performance, which requires students to recognize mathematical problems requiring only direct inferences, to extract information from a single source
• • • • •
and to make literal interpretations of their results. 28% of US 15-year-olds performed below Level 2 and 10% below Level 1 (Table 6.2a) Over three-quarters (78.7%) of students on average across OECD countries are proficient at least at this level (Table 6.2a). In Finland and Korea, and the partner economy Hong Kong-China, more than 90% of students perform at or above Level 2 (Table 6.2a). In every OECD country except Mexico, Turkey, Italy, Greece and Portugal at least 70% of students are at Level 2 or above (Table 6.2a). The proportion falling short of this level varied widely across countries, from 6% in Finland to 56% in Mexico and, among non-OECD countries/economies, from 10% in Hong Kong-China to 89% in Kyrgyzstan (Table 6.2a).
"The difference in the U.S. mean mathematics performance between 2003 and 2006 (483 vs. 474) is not statistically significant (Figure 6.21)". What chance do we have, when the person writing the report can't even see that we're going backwards? Let’s see how you would go on a couple of these Math questions. Question 1 from CARPENTER presents students with four diagrams and they have to determine which of these (there could be more than one) would be suitable for a garden bed given a certain length of timber for the perimeter. The question requires geometrical understanding and application.
How did you Go? --- Try this one Question 9 from EXCHANGE RATE presents students with a simple rate for exchanging Singapore dollars (SGD) into South African rand (ZAR), namely 1 SGD = 4.2 ZAR. The question requires students to apply the rate to convert 3000 SGD into ZAR
This a Sample of 2 of the questions in the Math Test
How come we don't stack up with the rest of the world? If they were offering Gold Medals for whinging & moaning about the decline in U.S. educational standards. The U.S. would win hands down. Dumping on the schools, and nagging about dumb kids, gets the all the headlines. These Math & science reports stink. Our teenagers are lucky if they can read.
Now as strange as it seems, lack of money is not the major problem. We throw billions around, feeding truckloads of bureaucrats, hordes of government committees, it appears everyone got an opinion and wants a say, at a cost. These vultures consume the money and waste resources, suggesting the next great educational plan. The US spends more money than any other countries on education. Yet the Results speak for themselves.
But real question is….. Why isn’t American education working? It seems spending bucket loads of money, is wasted if doesn’t go where it’s needed. How can such a rich nation as the US have low social economical areas falling so far behind? We’d expect these results from third world counties. Our educational system is failing our students. Every change of government introduces another education revolution. Anthony Oettinger, a former member of the Council on Foreign Relations, once asked an audience of communication executives, "Do we really have to have everybody literate writing and reading in the traditional sense - when we have means through our technology to achieve a new flowering of oral communication [television]?" Math is not sexy, how can it compare with Xbox’s, MTV It time we a good hard look at ourselves. Can we really be happy with these mediocre results?
If the US doesn’t lift its game, and take education seriously. We will be left behind. Do you think our Asian or European neighbors will stand around waiting for us to catch up? Or will they grab the advantage. Our nation was built on being innovative and leading the way with technology. Where to from here? We need to take a look at how and what we teach our children. We need to teach our children Math is Fun, will make learning easier. Even though we did not perform as well as we would have liked, we now know where we stand. If we are to compete on the world stage in math, we need our children to enjoy math at an early age. Math is Fun
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