Tuesday, December 7, 2010

"Top test scores from Shanghai stun educators"

From the NYT:



Questioner said...

The success of the Shanghai students is attributed to an amazing work effort and the fact that they spend less time than students elsewhere on sports and other activities not related to core subjects. Another factor is that Shanghai probably attracts top students.

Anonymous said...

In the article, my favorite part is the fact that no matter how the US scored, it was going to be an argument for more reform.

We did poorly compared to China so we must need more reform. Had we done well, it would have been proof that reform was working.

This is the same argument that's been made here over and over. If kids do well it's reform working. If kids do poorly, it must mean the teachers aren't following the curriculum hard enough.

If you want to look at released questions:


Questioner said...

We've seen that same thing in Pgh w/ HS reform- the fact that kids didn't do well was an argument for immediate reform, but if they had done well that would have been taken as a sign that reforms over the past 5 years were working and should be expanded.

Questioner said...

Anonymous submitted the followipost, which is not showing up on the website:

"I'm sure also that China is smart enough to do a couple of (smart) things.

First off, they downloaded the sample questions. Teachers aligned classwork to those skills and types of problems and made sure that problems like this were included all year.

Secondly, they gave it in the city and schools most likely to score well.

Their students were motivated to take and do well on the test. Those that aren't motivated most likely are not in these schools.

I don't have any problems with any of these practices. However, I do think that the same results (or better) can be accomplished while still offering enriching activities.

Despite the comment in the article, I see nothing in the math section that screams "creative problem-solving" abilities being measured. They are standard, pretty straightforward math concept questions. The dreaded "rote" learning (also can be known as having basic skills and knowledge of content) combined with practice solving related word problems would easily suffice to get a student through this exam well.

Posted by Anonymous to PURE Reform at December 7, 2010 10:08 AM"

Mark Rauterkus said...

Start with this fact: Every city kid in China is an only child.

There might be a few with siblings that are in there -- but -- they are VERY RARE.

I am more worried about the news (heard on the radio today) that the % of those with Ph.D.s has dropped from 79% to 77%. More people with advance degrees are NOT staying in the USA after they are done with their studies.

These numbers are what they are. For some who might need a wake up call, let it ring. Macro economics folks might care too.

Questioner said...

That's an interesting thought. For those interested in comparing scores, should Shanghai's scores be compared only to those of only children in the US? Do only children in the US score much higher than those with siblings?

Heather said...

I really don't think there is a difference between an only child and a child wih siblings, at least in US.

Interesting fact is, Shanghai joined testing just now - in my opinion they were preparing for it and now they showed the world, who's the king here. Nothing wrong with that, though.