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AM News: Vietnam Wins! (PISA 2013)


PISA Test Results For U.S. Students Are 'Sobering' NPR: International standardized test scores have been released. The test is given to students around the world every three years. It measures their knowledge of reading, mathematics and science literacy. U.S. students usually turn in mediocre performances, and this year's scores were no different.

U.S. 15-Year-Olds Slip in Rankings on International Exams WSJ: U.S. 15-year-olds made no progress on recent international achievement exams and fell further in the rankings, reviving a debate about America's ability to compete in a global economy. 

U.S. Test Scores Remain Stagnant While Other Countries See Rapid Rise HuffPost: Poland, Germany and Ireland showed tremendous growth, and Vietnam, which administered the exam for the first time in 2012, wound up among the top-performing countries, eclipsing the U.S. in math and science. Results like these herald Sputnik moment-type fears, leading some officials to believe the U.S. is losing its competitive edge.

US students still only average on tests USA Today: American high school students still post only average scores on a key skills test administered to kids in 65 countries across the industrialized world.

Fla. students score below international peers in math, science AP: Fla. students score below international peers in math, science in global test.

American Schools vs. the World: Expensive, Unequal, Bad at Math The Atlantic: More than half a million 15-year-olds around the world took the Programme for International Student Assessment in 2012. The test, which is administered every three years and focuses largely on math, but includes minor sections in science and reading, is often used as a snapshot of the global state of education. The results, published today, show the U.S. trailing behind educational powerhouses like Korea and Finland.

American 15-Year-Olds Lag, Mainly in Math, on International Standardized Tests NYT: Students in the United States scored in the middle of the developed world in reading and science, but lower in math, according to results released on Tuesday.

U.S. students score below average in world reading, math and science tests PBS: According to the latest Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) survey, American students scored slightly below average on the reading, math and science tests taken last year by 500,000 15-year-olds around the globe. 

 U.S. students lag around average on international science, math and reading test Washington Post: Scores in math, reading and science posted by 15-year-olds in the United States were flat while their counterparts elsewhere — particularly in Shanghai, Singapore and other Asian provinces or countries — soared ahead, according to results of a well-regarded international exam released Tuesday.

Non-PISA news (there's not much) below the fold.

Seeing the Toll, Schools Revisit Zero Tolerance NYT: The change comes as evidence mounts that get-tough policies in schools are leading to arrest records, low academic achievement and high dropout rates that especially affect minority students.

Parents Of Sleep-Deprived Teens Push For Later School Start Times WNYC: There have been years of debate on this issue. Sleep scientists argue that early high school start times conflict with teens' shifting circadian rhythms. Beginning in puberty, "adolescents are programmed to fall asleep later," says Dr. Judith Owens, who directs the Sleep Medicine Clinic at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. And she says many teenagers can't fall asleep before 11 p.m.

S.F. scrambles for subs as teachers skip school SF Gate: More than 600 San Francisco teachers and classroom aides skipped school Tuesday to extend their Thanksgiving holiday, leaving district officials scrambling to find enough qualified adults to watch over students.

A Social Entrepreneur Tries To Curb Public Schools' 'Summer Slide' Forbes: For many many school-age kids in lower-income families, summer vacation is a time for forgetting–that is, they proceed to lose two to three months worth of learning. Come the fall, they need to spend a few months just getting back what they forgot.


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Re: PISA, and in particular Claudio Sanchez's NPR story: school reformers should "stay the course" is definitely NOT the message we should take away from these findings, since mainstream education reform has been off course for about five years now.

In 2008, Claudio interviewed me at Locke High School, along with Steve Barr and music teacher Reggie Andrews; we had been leaders in the effort to form a partnership to fundamentally change the direction of an underachieving school in a depressed urban neighbourhood. But Reggie and the other teacher leaders were generally squeezed out by Green Dot, whose management shifted in the direction favoured by the Broad Foundation and others more schooled in business management than in education, people utterly ignorant of international best practices in education around the world, people focused on scores on the California Standards Tests, which are now extinct even though Secretary Duncan is struggling to keep them alive; the students educated in such a narrow, meaningless, test-prep environment, one that puts the interests of managers and superintendents in front of those of students and teachers, are as unemployable as ever, although many have significant college debt to pair with their college dropout status; while poverty pimps posing as education reformers lead our country's future off a cliff.

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