By Jose Ferreira, Knewton founder & CEO
The 2012 PISA results are due out at the end of this year. With their release is sure to come another prolonged period of navel-gazing about what’s wrong with [insert your country here]’s schools, curriculum, teachers, and education system as a whole.
PISA assesses 15-year-olds’ performance in three areas: math, science, and reading. The study started in 2000 and has been performed every three years since.
In 2009, the U.S. landed solidly in the middle of the rankings: 31st in math, 23rd in science, and 17th in reading out of 74 countries. The headlines were dramatic. All Americans left behind! Red scores rising! America’s woeful public schools! U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan proclaimed, “Americans need to wake up to this educational reality – instead of napping at the wheel while emerging competitors prepare their students for economic leadership.”
There are many problems with education both in America and in the rest of world. Dramatically increasing global access to education for those who don’t have it, and quality for all who do, is one of the most important tasks facing the human race today. But what, if anything, do PISA rankings tell us about this?
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