We Were Meant to be Teachers!

Classroom Management Strategies and other Teacher Worthy Ideas

What can America Learn About Smart Schools in other Countries?

Our American public education system has been under increased criticism about its lack of critical thinking skill preparations.  We’re good at teaching memorization in Math, but not so good in taking these skills to a higher level of critical and creative thinking.  But how does our country score in an international testing forum?

According to the New York Times:

“Every three years, half a million 15-year-olds in 69 countries take a two-hour test designed to gauge their ability to think. Unlike other exams, the PISA, as it is known, does not assess what teenagers have memorized. Instead, it asks them to solve problems they haven’t seen before, to identify patterns that are not obvious and to make compelling written arguments. It tests the skills, in other words, that machines have not yet mastered.”

How did the USA do?

“The latest results, released Tuesday morning, reveal the United States to be treading water in the middle of the pool. In math, American teenagers performed slightly worse than they usually do on the PISA — below average for the developed world, which means they scored worse than nearly three dozen countries. They did about the same as always in science and reading, which is to say average for the developed world.”

As much as many of my readers dislike the No Child Left Behind requirements for minimum instruction requirements, the NCLB has heightened the “bar” for acceptable critical thinking skills.  The PISA has demonstrated that these requirements seem to have been partly responsible for the US not falling down in the test results.

Maybe we can assume that we’d be higher in the ranking because we spend more money for education than most other countries.  No, to that assumption, too.  The US, Luxembourg, and Norway spend more money per student than most but are “average” in test results.  Canada and France have similar student populations and they scored higher on Math and spend less per student.

What should we do about this?  First of all, read the article using this link.  Then talk to your staff and see how we can “get this done!”  These standards have to be implemented in the elementary schools first, of course.




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