Stagnant Student Performance and Widening Achievement Gaps
a vociferous debate over what to blame, from subpar reading instruction to poverty to uneven implementation of the Common Core
A Crisis in Elite College Admissions
Declining Trust in Higher Education
a survey from the Pew Research Center found that 59 percent of Republicans and those who lean Republican believe colleges have a negative effect on the country.
Betsy DeVos, continued to draw criticism for rolling back oversight of for-profit colleges and weakening protections for bilked students.
The Democratic Party Backed Away From Charter Schools
Charters in cities like New York and Boston have shown promising achievement gains. But the sector has come under increasing fire on the left for harsh discipline practices, contributing to school segregation and serving fewer students with special needs. Teachers unions tend to oppose the schools’ expansion, since most of them are not unionized.
Education scholars have already critiqued PISA as a valid global measure of education quality — but analysts also are skeptical about the selective participation of Chinese students from wealthier schools.
Second, Chinese students, on average, study 55 hours a week — also No. 1 among PISA-participating countries. This was about 20 hours more than students in Finland, the country that PISA declared to have the highest learning efficiency, or reading-test-score points per hour spent studying.
But PISA analysis also revealed that Chinese students are among the least satisfied with their lives.
Students look overseas for a more well-rounded education
Their top destination of choice, by far, is the United States. The 1.1 million or so foreign students in the United States in 2018 included 369,500 Chinese college students
hostility in U.S.-China relations could dampen the appeal of a U.S. education. Britain, in fact, recorded a 30 percent surge in Chinese applicants in 2019, challenging the U.S. global dominance in higher education.
Immigrant students, who made up 23 percent of all U.S. students taking PISA, performed significantly better compared to their native-born peers in the United States than they did on average throughout the OECD countries.
Andreas Schelicher, director of education and skills at the OECD—the Paris-based organization behind PISA wrote that “students who disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement ‘Your intelligence is something about you that you can’t change very much’ scored 32 points higher in reading than students who agreed or strongly agreed.”
Those results are similar to recent findings published by Carol Dweck, a Stanford education professor who is often credited with making growth mindset a mainstream concept.
“Growth mindset is a very important thing that makes us active learners, and makes us invest in our personal education,” Schleicher states. “If learning isn’t based on effort and intelligence is predetermined, why would anyone bother?”
It’s “absolutely fascinating” to see the relationship between teachers’ enthusiasm, students’ social-emotional wellbeing and their learning outcomes, Schleicher notes. As one example, he noted in his summary report that “in most countries and economies, students scored higher in reading when they perceived their teachers as more enthusiastic, especially when they said their teachers were interested in the subject.”
In other words, happy teachers lead to better results. That’s hardly a surprising revelation, says Scheleicher. But professional development support is one thing that can sometimes be overlooked by policymakers when so much of the focus is on test scores.
Launched in 2000 as a project of the OECD, the PISA is administered every three years to nationally representative samples of students in each OECD country and in a growing number of partner countries and subnational units such as Shanghai. The 74 education systems that participated in the latest PISA study, conducted during 2009, represented more than 85% of the global economy and included virtually all of the United States’ major trading partners, making it a particularly useful source of information on U.S. students’ relative standing.
The United States’ historical advantage in terms of educational attainment has long since eroded, however. U.S. high-school graduation rates peaked in 1970 at roughly 80% and have declined slightly since, a trend often masked in official statistics by the growing number of students receiving alternative credentials, such as a General Educational Development (GED) certificate.
in many respects the U.S. higher education system remains the envy of the world. Despite recent concerns about rapidly increasing costs, declining degree completion rates, and the quality of instruction available to undergraduate students, U.S. universities continue to dominate world rankings of research productivity. The 2011 Academic Rankings of World Universities, an annual publication of the Shanghai Jiao Tong University, placed eight U.S. universities within the global top 10, 17 within the top 20, and 151 within the top 500. A 2008 RAND study commissioned by the U.S. Department of Defense found that 63% of the world’s most highly cited academic papers in science and technology were produced by researchers based in the United States. Moreover, the United States remains the top destination for graduate students studying outside of their own countries, attracting 19% of all foreign students in 2008. This rate is nine percentage points higher than the rate of the closest U.S. competitor, the United Kingdom.
Abel, H. (1959). Polytechnische Bildung und Berufserziehung in internationaler Sicht. International Review of Education / Internationale Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft / Revue Internationale de l’Education, 5(4), 369–382. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01417254
At one time it was left to teachers and administrators to decide exactiy what level of math proficiency should be expected of students. But, increasingly, states, and the federal government itself, have established proficiency levels that students are asked to reach. A national proficiency standard was set by the board that governs the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), which is administered by the U.S. Department of Education and generally known as the nation’s report card.
a crosswalk between NAEP and PISA. The crosswalk is made possible by the fact that representative (but separate) samples of the high-school graduating Class of 2011 took the NAEP and PISA math and reading examinations. NAEP tests were taken in 2007 when the Class of 2011 was in 8th grade and PISA tested 15-year-olds in 2009, most of whom are members of the Class of 2011. Given that NAEP identified 32 percent of U.S. 8th-grade students as proficient in math, the PISA equivalent is estimated by calculating the minimum score reached by the top-performing 32 percent of U.S. students participating in the 2009 PISA test. (See methodological sidebar for further details.)
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CAO perspectives: The role of general education objectives in career and technical programs in the United States and Europe
by Schanker, Jennifer Ballard, Ed.D., National-Louis University, 2011, 162; 3459884