Source
Administrator Magazine
Scholastic Administrator is a must-read resource for 240,000 of today's results-driven school leaders. Every issue features leadership for education executives, insight and analysis into what's next in education, and reporting on cutting-edge technologies in real life applications.

Lessons Learned from PISA

When results from the 2012 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) were released in December, no one in the United States seemed too happy—or surprised, for that matter. The assessment, which samples 15-year-olds from 65 countries in reading, math, and science, showed that American scores were stagnant from the test's last administration, in 2009.

While scores remained flat, the U.S. fell behind in rankings. American students ranked roughly 17th in reading and 21st in science in 2012 (down from 14th and 17th, respectively, in 2009), with scores in the middle of the pack. In math, U.S. students not only scored below the PISA average but also saw their ranking drop from 25th to 26th.

High-scoring students hailed mostly from Asian countries where, by many standards, education is more rigorous than in the United States. Shanghai claimed the top spot, but many observers doubt the region is a fair representation for all of China, which does not participate in the test as a whole. Other high achievers included Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan, and Finland.

What do the results mean for school administrators? "Most communities are less concerned about how their kids are doing relative to Shanghai than they are relative to other districts in their immediate area," says Daniel Domenech, executive director of AASA.

However, for students to compete in a global economy, there are some lessons that can be gleaned from top scorers. Almost all have nationalized education systems, as opposed to the 50 independent systems that exist in the U.S. While Common Core will not centralize education in this way in the U.S., many supporters hope that it will equalize-and raise-expectations nationwide.

The top scorers also value teacher training. "They are much more focused on ­teacher development and improvement," says Domenech. "We don't do that. We go the route of evaluating teachers so we can fire the ones that are incompetent."

Among other key findings, the results showed the impact of poverty, revealing vast disparities between affluent districts and states in the U.S. (which would have singularly ranked with high-performing countries) and lower-income counterparts. "The differential is poverty," says Domenech. "All you need to see is the zip code and you can predict the performance and achievement level."

—Kim Greene

 

Winter 2014

  • Scholastic Store
  • The Scholastic Store  
    Shades Of Black

    Shades Of Black

    by Pinkney, Sandra L.

    I am Black / I am Unique / I am the creamy white frost in vanilla ice cream / and the milky smooth brown in a chocolate bar...Using simple poetic language and stunning photographs, Sandra and Myles Pinkney have created a remarkable book of affirmation for African-American children. Photographic portraits and striking descriptions of varied skin tones, hair texture, and eye color convey a strong sense of pride in a unique heritage. A joyous celebration of the rich diversity among African-Americans.

    $5.59 You save: 20%
    books;board books;board picturebooks | Ages 2-8
    Add To Cart
    Shades Of Black
    Ages 2-8 $5.59
  • Scholastic Store
  • The Scholastic Store  
    The United States of America: A State-by-State Guide

    The United States of America: A State-by-State Guide

    This book exhibits all of the diversity of the American states even as it ties the country into one awesome entity. The authors' inclusion of endangered species, biographical sketches on the famous Americans from each state, inventions, resources, records, and so much more make this a unique and multidimensional work. But it is the art and the treatment of the information that makes this book so special. With a light-handed, fresh approach and tremendous respect for their subject, the author-artists succeed in painting a truly beautiful portrait of America. 

    $6.39 You save: 20%
    books;paperback books;paperbacks | Ages 9-12
    Add To Cart
    The United States of America: A State-by-State Guide
    Ages 9-12 $6.39
Help | Privacy Policy
EMAIL THIS

* YOUR NAME

* YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS

* RECIPIENT'S EMAIL ADDRESS(ES)

(Separate multiple email addresses with commas)

Check this box to send yourself a copy of the email.

INCLUDE A PERSONAL MESSAGE (Optional)


Scholastic respects your privacy. We do not retain or distribute lists of email addresses.