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Education Math Science

New Education Performance Data Published: Asia Dominates 263

Posted by Soulskill
from the we're-too-busy-eating-cheeseburgers-to-do-math dept.
jones_supa writes "The latest PISA (Programme for International Assessment) results are out today. Since 2000, the OECD has attempted to evaluate the knowledge and skills of 15-year olds across the world through its PISA test. More than 510,000 students in 65 economies took part in the latest test, which covered math, reading and science, with the main focus on math — which the OECD state is a 'strong predictor of participation in post-secondary education and future success.' Asian countries outperform the rest of the world, according to the OECD, with Shanghai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Macau and Japan amongst the top performing countries and economies. Students in Shanghai performed so well in math that the OECD report compares their scoring to the equivalent of nearly three years of schooling above most OECD countries. The study shows also a slight gender cap: in all countries, boys generally perform a bit better than girls, but this applies only to math." Here's a spreadsheet listing each country's results. The U.S. ranked 26th in math (below average), 17th in reading (slightly above average), and 21st in science (slightly below average).
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New Education Performance Data Published: Asia Dominates

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  • by bazmail (764941) on Tuesday December 03, 2013 @03:28PM (#45587135)
    Students nowadays cannot be punished for any misbehavior or disruption, its all illegal. Its common sense that standards are in the toilet. Students who succeed in the US now are succeeding despite our system, not because of it.
  • At What Cost (Score:4, Interesting)

    by EMG at MU (1194965) on Tuesday December 03, 2013 @03:33PM (#45587181)
    South Korea has the highest suicide rate of any developed nation.

    Japan is on track to experience negative population growth.

    What do all these wonderfully educated youth have to look forward to besides leaving their native country to go find somewhere they can actually live
  • Re:Asia Vs. America (Score:4, Interesting)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Tuesday December 03, 2013 @03:42PM (#45587281) Journal

    In America they are teaching kids (and their parents) that the American educational system sucks. This helps keep up the funding for the educational-industrial-congressional complex.

    That's an interesting thought. If you tell people that their education system is bad, it may turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy, where the students fail to learn only because they've been told they will fail to learn.

  • Re:Teach to the test (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TWiTfan (2887093) on Tuesday December 03, 2013 @03:46PM (#45587309)

    No, you just find clever ways to eliminate all the poor people from your numbers--like defining Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Macau as separate countries so you don't have to count all the illiterate poor people out in the Chinese countryside.

  • Re:Teach to the test (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Korveck (1145695) on Tuesday December 03, 2013 @03:55PM (#45587421)
    Based on my personal experience, students in those top ranking Asia Pacific area are taught at a faster pace and exposed to far more challenging questions in school. When I moved to Canada from Hong Kong, I didn't have to study Math for a year and a half because I learned almost everything already. The Asian students have far more homework. The more anxious parents send their kids to tutors, not necessarily because they are falling behind, but also to get ahead of the class. They don't need to "teach to the test" at all to get far better score. They simply know more and face difficult questions on a regular basis.
  • by rahvin112 (446269) on Tuesday December 03, 2013 @04:06PM (#45587543)

    I personally reject the assertion that math scores predict future success (there might be a small relationship in certain nations, but not worldwide), I also reject that cultural bias is being neglected.

    I've met plenty of engineers from cultures where questioning and innovation are highly discouraged and they couldn't innovate their way out of a paper bag. Great at the book learning and can duplicate the solution to any problem they've seen but handling real world problems where the constraints don't match the book? They don't even reach the level of western high school students even when compared against PHD's. There is a real cultural bias, and ultimately that bias is going to handicap the advancement of every culture it infects.

  • by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Tuesday December 03, 2013 @04:12PM (#45587627)
    I'm not sure what you're referring to, but around here in Europe, city centers tend to be expensive, prestigious, and very well equipped with top schools. It's probably the poor suburbians who fare worse.
  • by ebno-10db (1459097) on Tuesday December 03, 2013 @04:26PM (#45587863)

    I have thought of vouchers as an idea, but my fear that it would trade failed public schools for failed schools owned by a private corporation.

    Why? First, they needn't be owned by for-profit corporations. Traditionally private schools are not. I'd be happy with banning the use of the school vouchers for for-profit schools (if nothing else, the fireworks would be entertaining!). With vouchers you'd have a choice, and schools would have to compete with each other. I'm not a market fundamentalist, or even RW, but I am an empiricist. School vouchers are very popular and successful in an extreme right-wing bastion called Sweden.

    Probably the best way is from the ground up... get homeschooling parents to trade off, and form the old "one room schoolhouse" of yore.

    What makes you think they aren't? My neighbors are home schooling their daughter. Admittedly she's only in the first grade, but amongst other things kids go to some classes that are taught by various parents. BTW, politically they lean to the left a bit (mom's even a vegetarian!).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 03, 2013 @05:58PM (#45589159)

    As someone who took this test (I believe, if not this exact one it was very similar) when I was in school, I can guarantee you people did. Once we were told it didn't have any impact on our grade, people just started marking down answers and either spent zero time thinking about it or specifically chose the wrong ones just to be defiant.

    Believe it or not, teenagers by and large don't care how statistically valid someone's survey is when they feel like it has no impact on them.

  • by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Tuesday December 03, 2013 @06:35PM (#45589585) Journal

    I was from China, and I am a naturalized citizen of the United States of America.

    Regarding education - back when I escaped from China (that was some 40 odd years ago) the schools in East Asia (countries which were/are heavily influenced by the Confucianism school of thought such as China, Korea, Japan, Singapore ) were pretty much based on the top-down rote-learning mode - whereby the students have no say, and they must do EVERYTHING their teachers told them to do.

    It operated that way because the basic tenet of the Confucianism teaching is that the young uns are SLAVES to their elders (it's pretty much based on the blind obedience mode).

    When I reached the West I was totally astounded when my classmate actually questioned the teachers !

    That was a super NO-NO in Asia.

    Back then, even if the student asked a totally legitimate question to the teacher in class that student will be summoned to the headmaster and/or discipline master's office for punishment.

    That was how the Asian school had operated back then.

    Now ... except for Korea, which is still practicing strict Confucianism as what it has been doing for the past 2,000 years ... many schools in the East Asian countries (those populated by yellow-skin folks) have drastically improved their teaching method.

    Nowadays students are encouraged to solve problems, rather than to remember the facts laid out by their teachers.

    From Singapore to Tokyo to Hong Kong to Taiwan, everywhere I go I see great improvements.

    As for the other East Asian countries, those which are being populated by the brown skin folks such as Indonesia or the Philippines or Thailand, their schools are still as sucks as 50 years ago.

    I see that there are people here trying to justify their own country's failing by saying that the "comparison is not fair", that the comparison is comparing "cities to countries".

    For those folks, what I see is nothing much but sour grapes.

    Yes, comparing schools in Hong Kong or Singapore to schools in the United States of America is comparing schools in CITIES to a LARGE COUNTRY --- but so what ?

    If the schools in the United States of America sux, it's STILL SUX, no matter if it's in the city of Detroit or if it's in the city of Little Rock.

    How many of my fellow Americans have been to the public schools ? How many of you have seen the effect of gangsterism in the public schools in America ?

    I have.

    I have 2 friends who were teachers in public schools in America who were MURDERED by their students.

    On the other hand, I have a lot of friends who teach in schools in Asia, and so far, none of them have been killed by their students yet.

    When I asked my teacher friends in Asia about a recent news of a math teacher in Boston who got her throat slit by her student. all of them were horrified by that news.

    But when I post that same news to my friends who used to teach (and some are STILL teaching) in American public schools, they just shrug.

    This reflects how bad the American school system has become.

    You guys may want to deny it as much as you can, but for one who was from afar (I am not a product of the American high school system), the American school system has failed.

  • Does it do any good? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by dorpus (636554) on Tuesday December 03, 2013 @06:53PM (#45589733)

    While Asian countries are often accused of taking jobs from the West, the President of South Korea's Hyundai Motors visited factories in Russia and the Czech Republic. He said he was impressed by the quality of workers who were far superior to South Korean workers -- they never staged strikes and had far lower wages. While a South Korean factory takes 30 hours to make a car, the Czech factory takes 16. The visiting Korean managers could not keep up with the pace of production, so they received help from local secretaries in their 20's to fill their checklists. South Korean industry has been crippled by constant labor strikes demanding ever more wages and shorter working hours.

    Do students who score high on achievement tests demand higher wages, cushy jobs, and become less internationally competitive? [] []

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