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Discussion Starter #1
<p>Didn't know where to post this.  I hope it's an okay thread to start. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>I have talked about this with a couple of different people recently, and I am wondering if anyone here has more information or can point me in the right direction.  The conversation has to do with how the US educational system compares with other developed countries' systems, our grade level expectations and our college graduation rates.  My question is: how are we comparing the systems?  It seems like apples and oranges to me.  I know in several countries, they track kids starting at such a young age, that only the "college bound" kids would be counted on their standardized testing and college graduation count.  In the US, we try to build a more inclusive envrionment - everyone deserves to learn - so general education, gifted, and special education kids are all counted together on standardized tests, and even through high school graduation (with some modifications, in certain cases). </p>
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<p>Does anyone know more about how these comparisons are made?  I'm not trying to criticize any system necessarily; I'm just curious how US "standards" are set and what methods are used to determine our ranking.</p>
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<p>Furthermore (on a slightly different note but still related), one friend was saying how in China, the goal is often for the kids to come to the US for college so they have the opportunity for creative thinking, rather than the rote memorization that appears to be the focus there (and I feel a trend toward in the US schools, too).  How bad can our systems be, if we have higher education that encourages free thinking and people in other countries aspire to attend? </p>
 

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<p>I'm not sure whether it is comparisons the PISA survey done by the OECD you're referring to, or the IGLU or TIMMS surveys? These surveys aren't based on the standardized tests done in the various countries - these can't be compared anyway, like you said. Nor do they compare results in exit exams, can't be compared either, like you observed there's different standards, different tracking systems...some countries don't even do standardized tests at all (I live in one). So it isn't relevant just how many students will be counted in a standardized test or how many students take a specific type of exam.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>What's done for these surveys, from what I know about it: they put together a representative sample of students the same age (15 yo for PISA, grade levels for some others)  from a country - different regions, different types of schools, different tracks if applicable - and have them all solve the same kind of problems in their various languages of instruction - it's not about factual knowledge, which would differ a lot, but rather transferable skills, ie they're given a text to read and have to answer questions, solve word problems in math etc.</p>
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<p>I know someone who used to work for PISA and I asked her how they manage to get a representative sample - apparently, the numbers for each country are in the five digits and the algorithms are horribly complicated. There is something like a 150 page book by OECD statisticians about just how they get their samples to be representative and I tried to read it but didn't understand a word of it, so I guess you'll have to trust the experts on that one. There is still criticism leveled at countries that some are more creative in excluding special needs students than others for instance, but I think overall trends are probably correctly depicted. Of course the tests will be skewed towards what kind of problem solving or reading skills the experts at the OECD think are important for students in the future and some educational systems will be more geared towards teaching specific skills but that's what they test - how well a system does at teaching students these specific skills. And there are experts from a lot of countries involved - it is not just students from a specific cultural region that do well, there are countries from Europe, Asia and the Americas at the top.</p>
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<p>(I once read that the test questions used to be derived from Finnish exit exams which was the reasion Finnish students test so well, but they have been so consistently at the top there must be a lot more to it, if it's even true...).</p>
<p>HTH!</p>
 

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Discussion Starter #3
<p>That does help!  I don't know specifically what comparisons I'm referring to.  It's when you hear or read, "The US has dropped to 12th in college graduation rates among developed countries," or "American students lag behind in math and science," etc.  It's those kinds of vague comments that have me wondering.  Then, the districts and states try to make their programming more rigorous in response to these reports - creating standards that have to be adhered to for each grade level, lest they be called failing; and testing the kids more than teach them (it feels like, sometimes) to measure "progress" and meet standards.  I'll look up more information about PISA and OECD (can you tell me what they stand for?).  It's nice to know how the information is gathered.</p>
 

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<p> </p>
<p>The  OECD</a> is the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. It's an international organization that studies the domestic and international policies and practices of different countries in order to promote democracy and trade. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>PISA is the Programme for International Student Assessment. Every 3 years, the OECD surveys 15 y.o.'s from industrialized countries to assess their learning, knowledge and skills.</p>
<p> </p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Rose-Roget</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1280037/educational-system#post_16053036"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br>
I'm just curious how US "standards" are set and what methods are used to determine our ranking.
<p> </p>
<p>...How bad can our systems be, if we have higher education that encourages free thinking and people in other countries aspire to attend? </p>
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<p><br>
One of the many things that annoy me about these rankings is that the US doesn't have ONE educational system. Every state does their own thing, there aren't national standards, and many families opt for charter schools/private schools/homeschooling. It's a VERY different deal than in most countries.</p>
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<p>My DH works in an international field of business so we know many families who move international with kids (mostly between the US, UK, and Canada). We've watched families panic about their kids attending American schools for a few years, but then find out that they are fine or even ahead when returning home. (the kids attend suburban public schools with good reputations while in the states). Having watched how things play out, I'm not convinced that the education kids get if their parents value education and are well educated and hard working themselves is markedly better in one country.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Certain aspects of our higher education system are the best in the world, but it, again, is a completely different system.</p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Rose-Roget</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1280037/educational-system#post_16054181"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-bottom:0px solid;border-left:0px solid;border-top:0px solid;border-right:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>That does help!  I don't know specifically what comparisons I'm referring to.  It's when you hear or read, "The US has dropped to 12th in college graduation rates among developed countries," or "American students lag behind in math and science," etc.  It's those kinds of vague comments that have me wondering.  Then, the districts and states try to make their programming more rigorous in response to these reports - creating standards that have to be adhered to for each grade level, lest they be called failing; and testing the kids more than teach them (it feels like, sometimes) to measure "progress" and meet standards.  I'll look up more information about PISA and OECD (can you tell me what they stand for?).  It's nice to know how the information is gathered.</p>
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<p>Yeah, those kinds of statement would usually be based on an OECD report. For the record, I think statements like the first one about college graduation rates count for me as the kind of apples-to-oranges comparisons you mentioned, because a college education can mean different things in different countries, and the OECD report these statements may be based on (it's called "Education at a Glance") is a great tool for anyone who needs a specific statistic to support whatever point they were making as it's full of these kinds of apples-and oranges statistics. (I remember a public speaker shouting his indignation how "everywhere else in Europe kids start learning a foreign language in primary school, but not here!" in a state where primary school, duh, happened to go up to fourth grade only and foreign languages started in 5th grade, which would have been primary school, well, everywhere else in Europe.<br>
 </p>
<p>The thing I like about PISA is that they test according to age, not grade level, because grade level testing gets skewed by varying cutoffs, redshirting and retention rates (though from another perspective you could say the same thing about age levels). Particularly interesting to me is that by 15, students in the same age group may test up to 9 grade levels apart (and they show only the 5th to the 95th percentile, so special needs students would be probably excluded anyway by the statistics...</p>
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<p>can you tell I am fascinated by educationaly statistics<span><img alt="orngbiggrin.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="width:15px;height:15px;"></span>?</p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Linda on the move</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1280037/educational-system#post_16055468"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Rose-Roget</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1280037/educational-system#post_16053036"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br>
I'm just curious how US "standards" are set and what methods are used to determine our ranking.
<p> </p>
<p>...How bad can our systems be, if we have higher education that encourages free thinking and people in other countries aspire to attend? </p>
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<p><br>
One of the many things that annoy me about these rankings is that the US doesn't have ONE educational system. Every state does their own thing, there aren't national standards, and many families opt for charter schools/private schools/homeschooling. It's a VERY different deal than in most countries.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>My DH works in an international field of business so we know many families who move international with kids (mostly between the US, UK, and Canada). We've watched families panic about their kids attending American schools for a few years, but then find out that they are fine or even ahead when returning home. (the kids attend suburban public schools with good reputations while in the states). Having watched how things play out, I'm not convinced that the education kids get if their parents value education and are well educated and hard working themselves is markedly better in one country.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Certain aspects of our higher education system are the best in the world, but it, again, is a completely different system.</p>
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<br><br><p> </p>
 

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<p>I'm of the school that believes that the issues we are having with the educational system have more to do with our culture and how we raise our children than anything. We have regular behavioral issues in schools that are rarities in other nation schools. Other countries see teaching as a noble profession where here, it's generally those that graduate lowest in their college class that go into teaching. American kids have less responsibility in the home and in their community. The U.S. has the highest divorce rate in the world and we tend to live furthest from extended family and thus have less familial support. Our kids watch more TV and spend more time with media gadgets and read less. They sleep less and spend less time with family. Consider this, when talking of China and their high-performance rates, you have to see that even in the US, asian-americans have the highest rate of college attendance. The cultural difference still makes an impact. Finland always does fantastic in world comparisons of students... key differences, the average person gets at least 30 days of vacation time a year, often more. They have the best parental leave and even the men are actively  encouraged to use it.  They don't even start kids in academics until about age 7 and still for fewer hours in the day and yet by 15, they are still outscoring the U.S. kids. I'm by no means saying Finland is perfect. My own kids wouldn't likely do well in that setting with their beliefs against gifted education, disreguard for learning disabilities, ect. I'm just saying that the culture certainly seems more condusive to learning.</p>
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<p>Certainly, there are still US families making sure even their teens are getting sleep, doing their work, helping with the household, working in the community, respectful to adults, limiting media access, ect. We also have some major strengths in how we raise kids. My point is, when you are making your comparisons, it's not enough to just look at how the schools themselves run. You have to look at the whole picture.</p>
<p> </p>
 

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Discussion Starter #9
<p>YES (to below)!  But why can't the higher-ups in education planning see this?  I know they can't dictate what goes on in the home, but it seems like the schools' solution to the problems is only to make the days longer/more days and to test more.  At least where I am. <br><br>
 </p>
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>whatsnextmom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1280037/educational-system#post_16055870"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-bottom:0px solid;border-left:0px solid;border-top:0px solid;border-right:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>I'm of the school that believes that the issues we are having with the educational system have more to do with our culture and how we raise our children than anything. We have regular behavioral issues in schools that are rarities in other nation schools. Other countries see teaching as a noble profession where here, it's generally those that graduate lowest in their college class that go into teaching. American kids have less responsibility in the home and in their community. The U.S. has the highest divorce rate in the world and we tend to live furthest from extended family and thus have less familial support. Our kids watch more TV and spend more time with media gadgets and read less. They sleep less and spend less time with family. Consider this, when talking of China and their high-performance rates, you have to see that even in the US, asian-americans have the highest rate of college attendance. The cultural difference still makes an impact. Finland always does fantastic in world comparisons of students... key differences, the average person gets at least 30 days of vacation time a year, often more. They have the best parental leave and even the men are actively  encouraged to use it.  They don't even start kids in academics until about age 7 and still for fewer hours in the day and yet by 15, they are still outscoring the U.S. kids. I'm by no means saying Finland is perfect. My own kids wouldn't likely do well in that setting with their beliefs against gifted education, disreguard for learning disabilities, ect. I'm just saying that the culture certainly seems more condusive to learning.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Certainly, there are still US families making sure even their teens are getting sleep, doing their work, helping with the household, working in the community, respectful to adults, limiting media access, ect. We also have some major strengths in how we raise kids. My point is, when you are making your comparisons, it's not enough to just look at how the schools themselves run. You have to look at the whole picture.</p>
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<p><br><br>
Thanks for the links.  I read through one article yesterday by the OECD (well, admittedly, not the <em>entire</em> thing).  This was all based on survey report, which can be useful but is really subjective.  I understand the limitations, though, in such a large scale project - they simply can't go to every classroom and judge every situation by a standard set of criteria.  I'm impressed by the breadth of their studies!  That's quite the undertaking!</p>
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<p>It is true that the US offers a lot of different types of educational systems.  My ds is in a public school "Montessori" program (that I wish were more Montessori, personally - because it fits his learning style).  I've been told time and again that they cannot allow an authentic Montessori progression because they know what kids need to know by the end of grade 1 and they need to keep them on track to learning those things.  But as pp noted, some countries don't even start academics until later and can still do quite well by the end (as Montessori and other styles may teach in a different progression, but it doesn't mean the concepts won't be learned).  I don't mean to turn to a discussion of Montessori - it just fit into the comments pp said.  I would be interested in seeing a study of different educational styles within the US, even.  I know it's so highly variable, that it would be impossible to do anything valid, though. </p>
<p> </p>
<p> </p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>whatsnextmom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1280037/educational-system#post_16055870"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>I'm of the school that believes that the issues we are having with the educational system have more to do with our culture and how we raise our children than anything. We have regular behavioral issues in schools that are rarities in other nation schools. Other countries see teaching as a noble profession where <strong>here, it's generally those that graduate lowest in their college class that go into teaching.</strong> American kids have less responsibility in the home and in their community. The U.S. has the highest divorce rate in the world and we tend to live furthest from extended family and thus have less familial support. Our kids watch more TV and spend more time with media gadgets and read less. They sleep less and spend less time with family. Consider this, when talking of China and their high-performance rates, you have to see that even in the US, asian-americans have the highest rate of college attendance. The cultural difference still makes an impact. Finland always does fantastic in world comparisons of students... key differences, the average person gets at least 30 days of vacation time a year, often more. They have the best parental leave and even the men are actively  encouraged to use it.  They don't even start kids in academics until about age 7 and still for fewer hours in the day and yet by 15, they are still outscoring the U.S. kids. I'm by no means saying Finland is perfect. My own kids wouldn't likely do well in that setting with their beliefs against gifted education, disreguard for learning disabilities, ect. I'm just saying that the culture certainly seems more condusive to learning.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Certainly, there are still US families making sure even their teens are getting sleep, doing their work, helping with the household, working in the community, respectful to adults, limiting media access, ect. We also have some major strengths in how we raise kids. My point is, when you are making your comparisons, it's not enough to just look at how the schools themselves run. You have to look at the whole picture.</p>
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<p>Bolded above.<br>
 </p>
<p>Are you serious?  Do you have numbers that show this?  Because that certainly has not been my experience.  Most teachers I know were actually top of their class and went into teaching because they wanted to be teachers.  The adage "If you can't do, teach" is offensive bull, and one of the barriers to us seeing teaching as a "noble profession".</p>
 

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<p>I read a few studies on it in the past when I was doing the bulk of my research on education though it would take some searching to find again. Feel free to do so. To be fair, finishing college even at the bottom hardly makes you an unqualified loser. Personally, we've experienced some fantastic teachers who were top of their class and went into teaching because it was their calling. We're also in a district with one of the highest salaries in the county and thus attract can pick and choose a bit more than other districts. Plus, my kids are in the high classes and so tend to get the stronger teachers. Absolutely the saying "those that can't do, teach" is offensive but it's also true that teaching is not a calling for all people. It's also fair to say some just land there. Considering what these people have to deal with, it's not a surprise that it wouldn't be the first choice of careers for those who have multiple options. </p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Chamomile Girl</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1280037/educational-system#post_16056096"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-bottom:0px solid;border-left:0px solid;border-top:0px solid;border-right:0px solid;"></a><br><br><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>whatsnextmom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1280037/educational-system#post_16055870"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-bottom:0px solid;border-left:0px solid;border-top:0px solid;border-right:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>I'm of the school that believes that the issues we are having with the educational system have more to do with our culture and how we raise our children than anything. We have regular behavioral issues in schools that are rarities in other nation schools. Other countries see teaching as a noble profession where <strong>here, it's generally those that graduate lowest in their college class that go into teaching.</strong> American kids have less responsibility in the home and in their community. The U.S. has the highest divorce rate in the world and we tend to live furthest from extended family and thus have less familial support. Our kids watch more TV and spend more time with media gadgets and read less. They sleep less and spend less time with family. Consider this, when talking of China and their high-performance rates, you have to see that even in the US, asian-americans have the highest rate of college attendance. The cultural difference still makes an impact. Finland always does fantastic in world comparisons of students... key differences, the average person gets at least 30 days of vacation time a year, often more. They have the best parental leave and even the men are actively  encouraged to use it.  They don't even start kids in academics until about age 7 and still for fewer hours in the day and yet by 15, they are still outscoring the U.S. kids. I'm by no means saying Finland is perfect. My own kids wouldn't likely do well in that setting with their beliefs against gifted education, disreguard for learning disabilities, ect. I'm just saying that the culture certainly seems more condusive to learning.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Certainly, there are still US families making sure even their teens are getting sleep, doing their work, helping with the household, working in the community, respectful to adults, limiting media access, ect. We also have some major strengths in how we raise kids. My point is, when you are making your comparisons, it's not enough to just look at how the schools themselves run. You have to look at the whole picture.</p>
<p> </p>
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<p>Bolded above.<br>
 </p>
<p>Are you serious?  Do you have numbers that show this?  Because that certainly has not been my experience.  Most teachers I know were actually top of their class and went into teaching because they wanted to be teachers.  The adage "If you can't do, teach" is offensive bull, and one of the barriers to us seeing teaching as a "noble profession".</p>
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<p>I've known some very good and smart teachers, and I've known some very poor ones.  I think the point of the respect we give teachers in the US is of note.  If someone in the US says, they're a lawyer or an engineer, people listen.  If someone says, they're a teacher, there is some amount of discounting that person's intelligence, at least initially.  I'm and SLP and I work in the schools.  When people hear this and associate me as "teacher," I've felt different levels of respect compared to when I have worked in hospitals or in private practice.<br><br>
 </p>
 

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<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Linda on the move</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1280037/educational-system#post_16055468"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-bottom:0px solid;border-left:0px solid;border-top:0px solid;border-right:0px solid;"></a><br><br><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Rose-Roget</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1280037/educational-system#post_16053036"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-bottom:0px solid;border-left:0px solid;border-top:0px solid;border-right:0px solid;"></a><br>
I'm just curious how US "standards" are set and what methods are used to determine our ranking.
<p> </p>
<p>...How bad can our systems be, if we have higher education that encourages free thinking and people in other countries aspire to attend? </p>
</div>
</div>
<p><br>
One of the many things that annoy me about these rankings is that the US doesn't have ONE educational system. Every state does their own thing, there aren't national standards, and many families opt for charter schools/private schools/homeschooling. It's a VERY different deal than in most countries.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>My DH works in an international field of business so we know many families who move international with kids (mostly between the US, UK, and Canada). We've watched families panic about their kids attending American schools for a few years, but then find out that they are fine or even ahead when returning home. (the kids attend suburban public schools with good reputations while in the states). Having watched how things play out, I'm not convinced that the education kids get if their parents value education and are well educated and hard working themselves is markedly better in one country.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Certain aspects of our higher education system are the best in the world, but it, again, is a completely different system.</p>
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<p><br><br>
sorry for the empty post just quoting you, I tried to reply and the<span><img alt="hopmad.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/hopmad.gif" style="width:31px;height:20px;"></span> new software lost it.</p>
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<p>One of the most interesting things PISA has brought about where I live was the national breakdown of the data for the various states (I too live in a country with individual state responsibility for education). Before, equality of all systems was the correct eduspeak, even though parents and students who moved could attest to the vast differences, and a number of states were secretly convinced of their own superiority without the data to back it up.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Turns out there is a clear hierarchy with students from the worst-scoring state being a full two grades worth behind their counterparts in the best-scoring state from similar backgrounds and in comparable educational environments. Everyone does worse: immigrant kids, low income kids, kids with low and kids with high academic ability and the dropoff rates are a lot higher too. And the hierarchy has, for the most part, remained stable, so it wasn't a fluke. Interestingly, the state that scored highest isn't the one with project-based or indivualized, student-directed learning, but the one with the most traditional system, with rigorous academic curricula, merciless tracking, homework, grades from second grade onwards, frequent exams, retention and so on. More inclusive systems do a lot worse and they still fight about why. The media insist that parents are unhappy and children stressed out, but they are clearly learning. (Personally, I think it's about a high-expectations-forall-approach that might be replicated in ways that made students happier). I think it's good that the information is out there, even though the controversies have escalated. There is value in comparing these systems.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Also, the percentage of students who opt out of public education tends to be really small in most industrialized countries, usually in the single digits, so it doesn't really impact those overall trends. What is it for the US?</p>
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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
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<div> But as pp noted, some countries don't even start academics until later and can still do quite well by the end (as Montessori and other styles may teach in a different progression, but it doesn't mean the concepts won't be learned). </div>
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<p> But that's apples and oranges again - these countries tend to have universal preschool! <span><img alt="smile.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="width:16px;height:16px;"></span></p>
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<div>  The cultural difference still makes an impact.</div>
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<p>Totally agree! and they're not looking at those enough. "Outliers", anyone?</p>
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<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Tigerle</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1280037/educational-system#post_16056281"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br>
 Everyone does worse:<strong> immigrant kids,</strong> low income kids, kids with low and kids with high academic ability and the dropoff rates are a lot higher too. And the hierarchy has, for the most part, remained stable, so it wasn't a fluke.
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Immigrant kids? Technically, my kids are immigrant kids. Daddy is British. He's an aerospace engineer. So are some of the other kids at their private school, many of whom have parents who are university professors. In the circles we run in, <em>immigrant</em> means well educated and a go-getter.</p>
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<p>It's part of the reasons that I find so much of this to be BS.</p>
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<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Linda on the move</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1280037/educational-system#post_16056351"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Tigerle</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1280037/educational-system#post_16056281"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br>
 Everyone does worse:<strong> immigrant kids,</strong> low income kids, kids with low and kids with high academic ability and the dropoff rates are a lot higher too. And the hierarchy has, for the most part, remained stable, so it wasn't a fluke.
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Immigrant kids? Technically, my kids are immigrant kids. Daddy is British. He's an aerospace engineer. So are some of the other kids at their private school, many of whom have parents who are university professors. In the circles we run in, <em>immigrant</em> means well educated and a go-getter.</p>
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<p>It's part of the reasons that I find so much of this to be BS.</p>
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I just wanted to point out that even if immigrants are well-educated go-getters, their children can face challenges moving into a new school system in a different country. The kind of challenges that can depress test scores and grade reports. So it isn't surprising to consider them as a specific group when examining how well a school system is operating. If immigrant students are doing well, likely the system is working fairly well. </p>
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<p>Immigrant children may have some gaps in material if their former schooling follows a different progression of course work. That's often the case with maths and sciences. They likely haven't studied the history and geography of the new country and won't have the personal familiarity that comes from living in the culture. Language is often an issue.  Even if none of these challenges exist (unlikely), there is often an adjustment period while immigrant children deal with homesickness, dislocation anxieties and finding their way in an unfamiliar culture.  </p>
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<p>Lots of ex-pat students make smooth adjustments to their new homes and schools without any stumbling at school. It's fairly uniform advice, however, to tell ex-pats to expect that their children will go through an adjustment and to be understanding if grades slip during this period. </p>
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<p>I think there is some value in examining different educational methods and trying to cultivate best practices. The problem with comparisons is that people often focus on a few narrow aspects and ignore the broader systemic differences. Part of it is myopia. Part of it is lack of patience and a preference for easy answers and the quick fix. Lots of people in the U.S. love the idea of delaying school to age 7 as is usual in some countries. They aren't so enthralled when they hear that those countries have lengthy parental leaves, universal daycare/preschool and the primary school teachers are highly trained professionals with Masters degrees. In other words, it's really a proposal for an expensive, comprehensive restructuring of the current U.S. patchwork system of early childhood care and school systems. </p>
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<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Rose-Roget</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1280037/educational-system#post_16053036"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p> </p>
<p>Furthermore (on a slightly different note but still related), one friend was saying how in China, the goal is often for the kids to come to the US for college so they have the opportunity for creative thinking, rather than the rote memorization that appears to be the focus there (and I feel a trend toward in the US schools, too).  How bad can our systems be, if we have higher education that encourages free thinking and people in other countries aspire to attend? </p>
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This is making the same kind of mistake by focusing on one small aspect of the education system. There is no doubt that the elite level of the system is highly sought and provides excellent services. The problem is that very few have access to that elite level, and the rest of the system, from pre-kindergarten to post-graduate, needs improvement and development. </p>
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<p>I'll also point out that a lot of international students study abroad for college to develop their professional and business networks. The contacts are important, not just the educational content of a program, and influence choice of schools. </p>
 

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<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Linda on the move</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1280037/educational-system#post_16056351"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-bottom:0px solid;border-left:0px solid;border-top:0px solid;border-right:0px solid;"></a><br><br><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Tigerle</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1280037/educational-system#post_16056281"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-bottom:0px solid;border-left:0px solid;border-top:0px solid;border-right:0px solid;"></a><br>
 Everyone does worse:<strong> immigrant kids,</strong> low income kids, kids with low and kids with high academic ability and the dropoff rates are a lot higher too. And the hierarchy has, for the most part, remained stable, so it wasn't a fluke.
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Immigrant kids? Technically, my kids are immigrant kids. Daddy is British. He's an aerospace engineer. So are some of the other kids at their private school, many of whom have parents who are university professors. In the circles we run in, <em>immigrant</em> means well educated and a go-getter.</p>
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<p>It's part of the reasons that I find so much of this to be BS.</p>
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But that's why the PISA results are so interesting - they've got all these data! There are the raw rankings, and then you can break it all down further. They don't just ask for immigrant status in their samples, they ask for first language other than instructional language, they ask for socioeconomic status, educational attainment of parents, attitudes to school, to the subject tested (interesting for gender comparisons). So comparing immigrants to immigrants is comparing apples to oranges again, until you break down the data further. At first glance, for instance, Canada does really well by her immigrant student population. A lot of European countries do really badly, though the numbers are high in both. So are Europeans just meaner to immigrants? Possibly! But the discrepancy can completely be explained by looking at the average socioeconomic backgrounds of the immigrant population, which, for Canada, happens to be really high (people like your DH, for instance) and for these European countries, really low (non-skilled workers and peasants). However, if you happen to have comparable immigrant populations like in our country, tha vast differences in achievement between immigrants in different states suddenly become very meaningful. Same for differences between schools - they got data about how wide the spread is for individual students, and between the student populations in individual schools. So they tell you something about equality and eqity in a system. And so on.</p>
<p>The data are a real goldmine for finding correlations - causality, not so much, because there is a lot of stuff (like differences in cultural attitudes) they ignore.</p>
<p>It all turns into bullshit, of course, if you make a bland sweeping statement like US studenes all lag behind in maths and physics and that's why we have to raise standards in Lake Wobegon Kindergartens.</p>
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