Monday, February 13, 2017

Three global indexes show that U.S. public schools must be doing something right - The Washington Post

Three global indexes show that U.S. public schools must be doing something right - The Washington Post:

Three global indexes show that U.S. public schools must be doing something right



Nancy Truitt Pierce is a member of the Monroe School Board in Washington state who was appointed by Gov. Jay Inslee to his STEM Alliance Advisory Board. In her day job, she is a consultant who convenes monthly peer group meetings of top executives in Seattle and hears what they are looking for when recruiting new employees. What do they want?
Here’s what she wrote in an email:
What I hear from the key corporate leaders I meet monthly with is that they want candidates coming out of our public schools who are creative, innovative, collaborative problem solvers. Yes, the candidates must also have strong foundational skills of math, science and language arts but I suggest we are putting too much emphasis on the PISA math score as a key indicator of public school quality. I suggest there are other indicators that would serve us in much better ways.
PISA is the Program for International Student Assessment in which 15-year-old students in school systems around the world take tests in several subjects. American students have never scored near the top in this or any other international test, and the 2015 results were no different, prompting a great deal of consternation in the United States. (Pierce said she focused on the math score because that is what comes in for the most scrutiny.) Coming out on top on the 2015 PISA were kids in Singapore, followed by Japan, Estonia, Chinese Taipei, Finland, Macao (China), Canada, Vietnam, Hong Kong (China) and B-S-J-G (China).  But a recent Forbes article points out some of the problems with PISA:
[B]efore we accept the results at face value, we should delve more deeply into PISA’s problematic methodology, which are twofold. First, as you may have gleaned from the top ten results, instead of choosing one consistent geographical entity, PISA selects a sample that “represents the full population of 15-year-old students in each participating country or education system.” What this means in practice is the ability of some education administrators choosing their top-performing students from smaller samples in cities or city-states such as Chinese Taipei, Macao, Hong Kong and Singapore. While most of the other results came from a sample of scores around nations, some countries such as Argentina and China were allowed to take their sample from their most educated cities or regions. …
If we dig deeper into the sampling, we come across another potential problem with the PISA testing: that the sampling done on mainland China (Beijing, Jiangsu, Guangdong and Shanghai) and other cities was not taken from a wide variety of schools.
So what indicators does Pierce think should be considered when attempting to evaluate how well America’s public schools perform? Here’s what she wrote, in which she identifies three key indicators that are being overlooked in the national education debate:
1. The latest international PISA … showed that the United States is below average of 65 countries but this is not even an apple-to-apple comparison:
• The key correlation for academic success is family income.
• The USA is one of the only countries that educates EVERYONE. Most countries only educate their most affluent class.
• We do well on the PISA math comparison [and other PISA subjects] if you 
Three global indexes show that U.S. public schools must be doing something right - The Washington Post:


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