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New Education Performance Data Published: Asia Dominates

Soulskill posted about 9 months ago | from the we're-too-busy-eating-cheeseburgers-to-do-math dept.

Education 263

jones_supa writes "The latest PISA (Programme for International Assessment) results are out today. Since 2000, the OECD has attempted to evaluate the knowledge and skills of 15-year olds across the world through its PISA test. More than 510,000 students in 65 economies took part in the latest test, which covered math, reading and science, with the main focus on math — which the OECD state is a 'strong predictor of participation in post-secondary education and future success.' Asian countries outperform the rest of the world, according to the OECD, with Shanghai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Macau and Japan amongst the top performing countries and economies. Students in Shanghai performed so well in math that the OECD report compares their scoring to the equivalent of nearly three years of schooling above most OECD countries. The study shows also a slight gender cap: in all countries, boys generally perform a bit better than girls, but this applies only to math." Here's a spreadsheet listing each country's results. The U.S. ranked 26th in math (below average), 17th in reading (slightly above average), and 21st in science (slightly below average).

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USA (4, Funny)

coinreturn (617535) | about 9 months ago | (#45587059)

USA is 36-24-28. Sounds about right - top-heavy.

Re:USA (4, Funny)

AioKits (1235070) | about 9 months ago | (#45587263)

Only if she's 5'3".

Re:USA (2)

lagomorpha2 (1376475) | about 9 months ago | (#45587303)

According to the article they WERE testing 15 year olds.

Study is flawed -- compares cities to countries (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45587063)

As Slate pointed out this morning (), the way that this study mixes data from individual urban areas with data from whole countries makes it impossible to perform fair comparisons. Note that 4 out of the 7 asian "countries" that the Slashdot summary refers to (Shanghai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Macau) are either city-states or aren't even countries at all!

Comparing non-countries (or city-states) with countries biases the results by comparing poorer, less educated rural areas with better educated cities.

Re:Study is flawed -- compares cities to countries (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45587123)

Forgot the URL: http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_world_/2013/12/03/we_need_to_stop_letting_china_cheat_on_international_education_rankings.html

Re:Study is flawed -- compares cities to countries (-1, Flamebait)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about 9 months ago | (#45587279)

Also, the countries at the top don't have to deal with the inner-city Gangbanger Central High Schools dragging down their average. Let's see how they compare to U.S. white suburbs!

Re:Study is flawed -- compares cities to countries (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45587403)

Also, the countries at the top don't have to deal with the inner-city Gangbanger Central High Schools dragging down their average. Let's see how they compare to U.S. white suburbs!

As someone who came from a U.S. white suburb... yeah, let's just keep quiet and not make things worse, all right? Good. Fucking football school. Didn't help that the team sucked anyway.

Re:Study is flawed -- compares cities to countries (3, Interesting)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 9 months ago | (#45587627)

I'm not sure what you're referring to, but around here in Europe, city centers tend to be expensive, prestigious, and very well equipped with top schools. It's probably the poor suburbians who fare worse.

Re:Study is flawed -- compares cities to countries (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45587915)

Yeah, that was the point. Your inner city schools don't look all that different from the suburbs--filled with polite, affluent white kids. Come to the U.S. inner city sometime and you'll see what's dragging down our average. Ever tried to teach in a school where half the kids don't show up, and the other half are mostly dangerous thugs who only show up to deal drugs and get into fights, where you have to have metal detectors at the entrance to keep kids from bringing in guns and knives?

It's apples and oranges.

Re:Study is flawed -- compares cities to countries (4, Informative)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 9 months ago | (#45588037)

in Europe, city centers tend to be expensive, prestigious, and very well equipped with top schools. It's probably the poor suburbians who fare worse.

In America it is exactly the opposite.

I lived in Shanghai for several years, and my kids attended school there. In American math class they say "show your work". In Chinese math classes they say "do it in your head". Chinese kids have to stand with their hands behind their backs, looking at a list of integers on the whiteboard, and add them up in their head. They do the same with subtraction, multiplication, and division. They drill until they get good at it. As an American, I never learned to do that. So when I need a list of numbers added, I just ask my Chinese educated daughter to do it. That is usually quicker than looking for a calculator.

Re:Study is flawed -- compares cities to countries (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45587285)

aww could the poor little merkins not get the NSA to steal the questions beforehand?
Thought you lot were number one at everything. USA! , USA ! Number one

Re:Study is flawed -- compares cities to countries (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45587697)

The NSA happens to be staffed with merkins.

Re:Study is flawed -- compares cities to countries (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45587525)

Maybe the conclusion is flawed (if not all regions are included in the comparison, such as mainland china, maybe asia isn't doing so well) but of course you can compare a city with a rural area, why shouldn't you? If the average american child are worse at math than the average singaporian, of course Singapore deserves a higher ranking, why shouldn't it?

Re:Study is flawed -- compares cities to countries (4, Interesting)

rahvin112 (446269) | about 9 months ago | (#45587543)

I personally reject the assertion that math scores predict future success (there might be a small relationship in certain nations, but not worldwide), I also reject that cultural bias is being neglected.

I've met plenty of engineers from cultures where questioning and innovation are highly discouraged and they couldn't innovate their way out of a paper bag. Great at the book learning and can duplicate the solution to any problem they've seen but handling real world problems where the constraints don't match the book? They don't even reach the level of western high school students even when compared against PHD's. There is a real cultural bias, and ultimately that bias is going to handicap the advancement of every culture it infects.

Re:Study is flawed -- compares cities to countries (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45587665)

While I agree that math scores are great predictors of basic success, this is just basic arithmetic. You can teach horses to do most of this stuff. Anyway, I'm sure they'll all grow up to be sports stars and racecar drivers, so it doesn't really matter.

Re:Study is flawed -- compares cities to countries (3, Insightful)

Sique (173459) | about 9 months ago | (#45587547)

Comparing non-countries (or city-states) with countries biases the results by comparing poorer, less educated rural areas with better educated cities.

And this is bad exactly why?

If it's true that in the U.S., the rural areas lack education and are less wealthy, when compared with urban areas, then it's a fact studies like this are pointing out. It's not that the results are biased. They just reflect reality. Obviously the U.S. misses a strategy to bring enough education to rural areas and less wealthy people.

Re:Study is flawed -- compares cities to countries (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45587969)

It's bad because in China, the rural areas also lack education and are less wealthy. They're ranking the best-educated areas of China with the average areas in the US.

Re:Study is flawed -- compares cities to countries (0)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about 9 months ago | (#45587553)

Yep. Something tells me that if they were to somehow measure every 15 year old in Asia, including all large majority of those outside of the major cities, their numbers would look like ass.

Re:Study is flawed -- compares cities to countries (1)

parkinglot777 (2563877) | about 9 months ago | (#45587621)

Singapore is a country even though it is a small island. Hong Kong & Macau could be counted as one country; however, I don't know how people in Hong Kong think whether they are in the same country. Only Shanghai is a CITY in China and cannot represent the whole country.

Re:Study is flawed -- compares cities to countries (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45587647)

The study is flawed because it takes into account the same crappy tests that utterly fail to test for any sort of understanding of the material. This is not "education," unless you consider pure rote memorization to be education.

That's great! (0)

FilmedInNoir (1392323) | about 9 months ago | (#45587065)

Now China can cut some of it's educational funds in the city and divert them to more impoverished regions in the country.

New country - does China know? (5, Funny)

unixisc (2429386) | about 9 months ago | (#45587197)

From the people who yesterday gave us that Gothenburg is the capital of Sweden, now comes the news that Shanghai is a country.

I'm sure the PLA will be thrilled to know this, and can pull out troops in Tibet, or near the Taiwan Straits, and redirect them towards Shanghai!

Can PISA do an assessment test on /. editors & their geography?

Re:That's great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45587451)

Yeah, cause cutting education helps reduce poverty...

Teach to the test (2)

Colin Castro (2881349) | about 9 months ago | (#45587085)

If countries want to score better they should teach to the test like the top countries usually do.

Re:Teach to the test (3, Interesting)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about 9 months ago | (#45587309)

No, you just find clever ways to eliminate all the poor people from your numbers--like defining Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Macau as separate countries so you don't have to count all the illiterate poor people out in the Chinese countryside.

Re:Teach to the test (4, Interesting)

Korveck (1145695) | about 9 months ago | (#45587421)

Based on my personal experience, students in those top ranking Asia Pacific area are taught at a faster pace and exposed to far more challenging questions in school. When I moved to Canada from Hong Kong, I didn't have to study Math for a year and a half because I learned almost everything already. The Asian students have far more homework. The more anxious parents send their kids to tutors, not necessarily because they are falling behind, but also to get ahead of the class. They don't need to "teach to the test" at all to get far better score. They simply know more and face difficult questions on a regular basis.

Asia Vs. America (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45587103)

In Asia, they are teaching kids Math.

In America, we are teaching them that they can be Male...or Female...or neither, or whatever they feel like that day.

In Asia, they are teaching kids Reading and Writing.

In America, we are teaching them deep down Daddy really Hates mommy because she is a women and that white people are always, always, always racists.

In Asia, they are teaching kids Science.

In America, we are teaching them that as long as almost all the experts agree, the science doesn't matter.

In Asia, they are teaching the kids Economics.

In America, we are teaching them that they have a right to a house, a car, a TV, a cell phone and to have as many kids as they want, regardless of their ability to care for them.

Re:Asia Vs. America (-1, Offtopic)

bazmail (764941) | about 9 months ago | (#45587147)

This. A thousand times this.

Re:Asia Vs. America (-1, Offtopic)

ogar572 (531320) | about 9 months ago | (#45587167)

Pretty much spot on.

Re:Asia Vs. America (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 9 months ago | (#45587177)

In Asia, they are teaching kids Math.

In America they are teaching kids (and their parents) that the American educational system sucks. This helps keep up the funding for the educational-industrial-congressional complex.

Re:Asia Vs. America (3, Interesting)

phantomfive (622387) | about 9 months ago | (#45587281)

In America they are teaching kids (and their parents) that the American educational system sucks. This helps keep up the funding for the educational-industrial-congressional complex.

That's an interesting thought. If you tell people that their education system is bad, it may turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy, where the students fail to learn only because they've been told they will fail to learn.

Re:Asia Vs. America (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45587483)

Please note that the US numbers include ALL 15yr old students. In most of the Asian countries/cities, less intellectual students are shuffled out of the academic schools early on to different career paths. If you stacked private/gifted US school children against the Asians, you'd find no difference in performance. Apples to apples guys...please.

Re:Asia Vs. America (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45587223)

In America, you teach that Intelligent Design is valid science.

In America, belief and opinion is weighed equal to facts and evidence.

That, in a nutshell, is what it wrong with the US educational system -- it has become a tool of drooling idiots who pass rules about things they don't even remotely understand, and act like their religion actually defines reality.

In some ways, and in some places, America is little better than the Taliban ever was. You just change the specifics of the religion, but the results are the same.

Re:Asia Vs. America (0)

rockout (1039072) | about 9 months ago | (#45587255)

THIS is the comment that should be modded up.

Re:Asia Vs. America (2)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 9 months ago | (#45587291)

Much as I agree with you, that only affects the science part of the test (and then only the biology part). It has nothing to do with reading and math. I've never heard a fundamentalist preacher say that calculus is evil.

Re:Asia Vs. America (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45587461)

Much as I agree with you, that only affects the science part of the test (and then only the biology part)

But it has the net effect of fundamentally undermining the ability to think critically about things, and evaluate evidence.

Once you decide that some 'facts' are incorrect and don't match with your beliefs, you pretty much just start cherry picking the ones which are convenient.

And then you really see how this becomes a problem.

Your reading gets further undermined because people want to ban certain kinds of books, and people live in their own little echo chambers where they only see things approved as 'facts' by their religious leaders. Your math declines because you've spent time discrediting the math used in science -- and then these people get out into the real world confidently wrong in their beliefs and unable to reconcile them with reality, because they've been taught that their beliefs win over reality.

Those people then become adults who bluster around claiming to be right, when there's neither facts nor evidence on their side. And then those people go on to produce even stupider children.

Once you start down that road, it's a pretty steady race to the bottom.

Stupid is curable in most cases. Willful ignorance is a much bigger problem and much harder to fix.

Re:Asia Vs. America (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 9 months ago | (#45587669)

But it has the net effect of fundamentally undermining the ability to think critically about things, and evaluate evidence.

I agree, and in the real world that's important. However, it still has little to do with these tests. Reading tests are mostly about comprehension of what was written, not protracted thought or discussion about the material. That's also true of math, at least at that level. It teaches problem solving skills, which are important, but definitely not the same as the ability to think critically about things, and evaluate evidence.

Re:Asia Vs. America (2)

phantomfive (622387) | about 9 months ago | (#45587295)

Either way, the end problem is that people in America view education as a propaganda system, rather than an education system, right?

Re:Asia Vs. America (4, Insightful)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 9 months ago | (#45587437)

In some ways, and in some places, America is little better than the Taliban ever was.

Yep, because the Supreme Court will stone you to death if you try to teach the truth rather than creationism.

Re:Asia Vs. America (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45587571)

In America, you teach that Intelligent Design is valid science.

In America, belief and opinion is weighed equal to facts and evidence.

No. Only in a few small isolated areas, and Texas, and on Fox news. Not in the vast majority of the country.

That, in a nutshell, is what it wrong with the US educational system -- it has become a tool of drooling idiots who pass rules about things they don't even remotely understand, and act like their religion actually defines reality.

In some ways, and in some places, America is little better than the Taliban ever was. You just change the specifics of the religion, but the results are the same.

Yes, because in America we typically leave school board meetings over science policy, and go to the homes of our opponents and murder them. I really don't think you understand anything about the Taliban. Your level of ignorance is actually physically painful. Yes there are problems with people misunderstanding science and religion and trying to combine them. Overall you don't seem to understand the problem any better than they do, and are just as far from helping to solve it.

Re:Asia Vs. America (1)

kamapuaa (555446) | about 9 months ago | (#45588021)

Do people in foreign countries actually believe this? It's hilarious how some foreigners go to US websites and absorb US culture, but believe the most ridiculous anti-US propaganda at face value.

Re:Asia Vs. America (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45588067)

In America, you teach that Intelligent Design is valid science.

Which US school system does this?

Re:Asia Vs. America (1)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about 9 months ago | (#45587381)

No, more like there are two types of school in America: the good schools out in the suburbs where the kids are doing just fine compared with the rest of the world, and the shithole schools in the inner city that have to spend all their energy dealing with discipline problems and can't keep decent teachers. I bet Switzerland has plenty of the former, but does it have to deal with the latter dragging down their average?

Re:Asia Vs. America (0)

lagomorpha2 (1376475) | about 9 months ago | (#45587477)

Now if only there were some way of American cities using two parallel school systems - one for students without discipline problems and a seperate set of schools for those with discipline problems so the later can't interfere with the education of the former.

No, that would never work.

Re:Asia Vs. America (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45587651)

Doesn't matter how you shift it, the poor kids in the ghetto are still going to drag down the average.

Re:Asia Vs. America (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45587493)

No child left behind! No child left behind! Title 1! Title 1! Title ONE!

Re:Asia Vs. America (1)

AIphaWolf_HK (3439155) | about 9 months ago | (#45587703)

No, more like there are two types of school in America: the good schools out in the suburbs where the kids are doing just fine compared with the rest of the world

They're not doing just fine, just like the other kids probably aren't doing just fine. These schools don't actually focus on understanding.

Re:Asia Vs. America (1)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about 9 months ago | (#45588033)

Yeah, they are. Here is an article [washingtonpost.com] on the subject. But this are the key quotes:

Among non-Hispanic white Americans, the average [PISA] score was 525 - not very different from Canada's 524, New Zealand's 521 or Australia's 515. All these countries are heavily white, and all ranked in the top 10 of the 65 participating school systems. The story is the same for Asian Americans. Their average score was 541 - somewhat below Shanghai, about even with South Korea and ahead of Hong Kong (533) and Japan. Again, all these other systems were in the top 10

. . . . . But the most glaring gap is well-known: the stubbornly low test scores of blacks and Hispanics. In the PISA study, their reading scores were 441 (blacks) and 466 (Hispanics).

So, yeah, the affluent white kids out in the suburbs and decent neighborhoods are apparently learning just fine.

Re:Asia Vs. America (0)

AIphaWolf_HK (3439155) | about 9 months ago | (#45587683)

In both Asia and America, they don't teach anything; they ask that students memorize formulas, patterns, and methods, and then ask that they regurgitate it all back on a test. Understanding not required. Intelligence not required.

Re:Asia Vs. America (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 9 months ago | (#45587721)

In Asia, they are teaching kids Science.

In America, we are teaching them that as long as almost all the experts agree, the science doesn't matter.

Worse, they're teaching them their personal feelings and opinions are as good as any amount of reproducible experiments and data.

Asia Dominates in teach the test (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 9 months ago | (#45587125)

And not real real skill if they are not on the test.

Re:Asia Dominates in teach the test (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45587531)

Not to mention the fact that they're completely unable to play football at the collegiate level (e.g. what college is really all about).

Is this any real surprise? (5, Interesting)

bazmail (764941) | about 9 months ago | (#45587135)

Students nowadays cannot be punished for any misbehavior or disruption, its all illegal. Its common sense that standards are in the toilet. Students who succeed in the US now are succeeding despite our system, not because of it.

Re:Is this any real surprise? (2)

mlts (1038732) | about 9 months ago | (#45587229)

I'm not surprised. At first, I saw people home-schooling, and it was just the RW types. However, I'm seeing the same thing on the left as well, where parents are just getting tired of a broken education system.

How to fix? I have thought of vouchers as an idea, but my fear that it would trade failed public schools for failed schools owned by a private corporation. A national school system would not fly because of the history of state/local autonomy. Bashing unions are not going to help much, as non-union schools have as many problems as ones with teacher unions.

Probably the best way is from the ground up... get homeschooling parents to trade off, and form the old "one room schoolhouse" of yore.

Re:Is this any real surprise? (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about 9 months ago | (#45587501)

The what types?

Re:Is this any real surprise? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45587605)

Right-wing nutjobs. The folks that think evolution is a liberal conspiracy.

Re:Is this any real surprise? (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about 9 months ago | (#45587847)

It always pisses me off when people toss around names like that. There's no fucking wings, there's idiots, assholes, and morons.

Re:Is this any real surprise? (3, Interesting)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 9 months ago | (#45587863)

I have thought of vouchers as an idea, but my fear that it would trade failed public schools for failed schools owned by a private corporation.

Why? First, they needn't be owned by for-profit corporations. Traditionally private schools are not. I'd be happy with banning the use of the school vouchers for for-profit schools (if nothing else, the fireworks would be entertaining!). With vouchers you'd have a choice, and schools would have to compete with each other. I'm not a market fundamentalist, or even RW, but I am an empiricist. School vouchers are very popular and successful in an extreme right-wing bastion called Sweden.

Probably the best way is from the ground up... get homeschooling parents to trade off, and form the old "one room schoolhouse" of yore.

What makes you think they aren't? My neighbors are home schooling their daughter. Admittedly she's only in the first grade, but amongst other things kids go to some classes that are taught by various parents. BTW, politically they lean to the left a bit (mom's even a vegetarian!).

You forgot to rant about (1)

DaveAtFraud (460127) | about 9 months ago | (#45587883)

You cannot flunk the dolts because, "it might damage their self-esteem."

Deal with it [despair.com] .

Cheers,
Dave

What country is Shanghai? (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 9 months ago | (#45587149)

Students in Shanghai performed so well in math that the OECD report compares their scoring to the equivalent of nearly three years of schooling above most OECD countries.

Not sure about math, reading and science, but clearly my geography is bad. I had no idea Shanghai was a country.

Re:What country is Shanghai? (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 9 months ago | (#45587315)

I'm not sure about your reading either. It never said Shanghai is a country.

Re:What country is Shanghai? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45587457)

Except for this quote from TFS up there at the top o' the page, where it says Shanghai is a country, of course.

Asian countries outperform the rest of the world, according to the OECD, with Shanghai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Macau and Japan amongst the top performing countries .

Re:What country is Shanghai? (2)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 9 months ago | (#45587589)

Good thing you didn't selectively quote, like leaving off 'and economies' from the end. That might have made you look stupid.

Re:What country is Shanghai? (3, Funny)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | about 9 months ago | (#45587317)

Students in Shanghai performed so well in math that the OECD report compares their scoring to the equivalent of nearly three years of schooling above most OECD countries.

Not sure about math, reading and science, but clearly my geography is bad. I had no idea Shanghai was a country.

Your reading doesn't seem to be up to much either. Nowhere in that sentence does it even imply that Shanghai is a country.

Re:What country is Shanghai? (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about 9 months ago | (#45587517)

You are aware that contextual clues [slashdot.org] form a rather large part of reading comprehension?

Re:What country is Shanghai? (2)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 9 months ago | (#45587617)

Read it again for yourself. It says 'countries and economies' but the post you quoted left off 'and economies'. We know how to read just fine. You need some work.

Re:What country is Shanghai? (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about 9 months ago | (#45587837)

So you believe comparing two different things on the same level is even approaching accuracy or responsible reporting?

Re:What country is Shanghai? (2)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 9 months ago | (#45587917)

Wow, reading fail again. I never said, nor implied that. I merely stated that the fantastic summary never said that Shanghai was a country.

I would agree that comparing a city to a country is unfair, but that's not what this conversation started off as.

At What Cost (3, Interesting)

EMG at MU (1194965) | about 9 months ago | (#45587181)

South Korea has the highest suicide rate of any developed nation.

Japan is on track to experience negative population growth.

What do all these wonderfully educated youth have to look forward to besides leaving their native country to go find somewhere they can actually live

Re:At What Cost (1)

east coast (590680) | about 9 months ago | (#45587271)

Suicide rate I can understand but negative population growth means what to whom? Not to be rude but it seems to me that you're reaching at straws with that one but I would like to hear why you think that plays into this at all.

Re:At What Cost (1)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | about 9 months ago | (#45587337)

Fewer people of working age to fund the pensions of retired people. Kinda like the baby-boomer time bomb that's in the process of going off here.

Re:At What Cost (1)

east coast (590680) | about 9 months ago | (#45587389)

And that has what to do with "at what cost" when the question is education? Their education doesn't apprear to have anything to do with negative population growth. Don't point to the effect, show me how it is the cause.

Re:At What Cost (1)

EMG at MU (1194965) | about 9 months ago | (#45587439)

The cause is that society emphasizes success in your career, whether it be academic or professional, over your personal relationships and life. The effect is that test scores are high and the amount of "scoring" is low.

Re:At What Cost (3, Funny)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | about 9 months ago | (#45587485)

They're not teaching them the joy of sex.

Re:At What Cost (2)

EMG at MU (1194965) | about 9 months ago | (#45587393)

Most people consider Japan's population growth to be an issue compromising their economic future. There is a fear that there will not be enough young workers to pay into the social safety net programs for the old. The growth problems are usually attributed to the pressures of Japanese society. There is a lot of pressure to study, get into a good school, study, get into a good university, study, and then get a good job then work your ass off. Where is there time to develop relationships and social skills? I have heard Japanese people say "There isn't time to have a relationship with someone from the opposite sex, we are working too much."

Lots of studying seems to pay off in terms of excellent test scores. Does it encourage personal happiness? What are the unintended effects of emphasizing academic performance so much?

Re:At What Cost (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about 9 months ago | (#45587541)

Have some reading. [wikipedia.org] Yes, that is apparently a real thing over there.

highest suicide rate (1)

Dareth (47614) | about 9 months ago | (#45587353)

Former ESL teacher in Shanghai... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45587213)

This is hardly surprising, considering that middle school kids have gray hairs from stress, and all the poorly performing students are shuttled out of view. Why don't we compare their scores to kids from upper class Manhattan families? While we are at it see how well they do at independent problem solving and creative thinking? This is just a red herring.

Re:Former ESL teacher in Shanghai... (1)

sinij (911942) | about 9 months ago | (#45587305)

I agree with this being just a red herring. We are not teaching math to get universally good scores, we are teaching to produce educated, productive, and innovative population of adults. Where is innovation coming from these Asian countries? What about population-normalized number of scientific papers? What about population-normalized number of patents? They are still only known for cheaply manufacturing Western designs and innovations. Who cares how they do on math if these are the outcomes?

Re:Former ESL teacher in Shanghai... (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 9 months ago | (#45587529)

It's interesting to hear from someone who had boots on the ground (I made a comment above about being unaware that Shanghai was a country). As for "while we are at it see how well they do at independent problem solving and creative thinking", what do you think about the "'stuffing the duck" system? I've heard Chinese complain about it. How real is it?

Even though it's cherry picked and results in stressed out kids, I don't want to take anything away from the recognition of Shanghai's educational achievements. Nevertheless I do wonder about the (unfortunately difficult to objectively quantify) question that you raise. AFAIK someone like Richard Feynman didn't stay up until midnight every school day cramming. His mother was neither a "tiger mom" or a helicopter parent. From what I've heard, he still did ok academically. Possibly even some success later. Obviously this is an anecdote, but it make my (and your?) point. Studying hard and maintaining academic standards are one thing, but some of the East Asian countries (or at least some cities in them) seem to go nuts. It sure brings out the best puritanical sanctimony in Americans though.

Re:Former ESL teacher in Shanghai... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45588023)

FWIW, I occasionally got the top test scores on math tests in high school. Results were posted outside the class with the last 4 of your SSN, so I knew I was top or close to it sometimes. 1/3rd of that class was Asian and I'm Caucasian. My parents didn't push me that hard and they certainly didn't help with trigonometry since neither one of them had anything past Algebra-1.

I got into a good school... and suffered depression on and off for years. I drove myself hard. Maybe all that academic stuff is just naturally going to drive you a bit batty and/or wear you out at some point.

Of course my story is just an anecdote too.

Massachusetts (5, Insightful)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 9 months ago | (#45587265)

Results among the states varies a lot. For example Massachusetts is fully competitive with the Asian countries. On the TIMSS exam (generally thought to be more difficult than the PISA test) Massachusetts finished sixth in the world in mathematics, and second in the sciences for it's 8th grade students.

High levels of achievement ARE attainable in the US. It isn't a matter of cultural problems, or the society we live in. It's a matter of politicians and parents adopting the attitude that it can be done, and sticking to that idea. Effective reform though is not something that can be done overnight. Massachusetts has been at it for 20 years.

http://boston.com/community/blogs/rock_the_schoolhouse/2012/12/massachusetts_aces_internation.html [boston.com]

Massachusetts has shown how to do it. Now all it takes is realization of what can be done and applying it elsewhere.

Cannot compare a city to a country (3, Insightful)

Andover Chick (1859494) | about 9 months ago | (#45587341)

You cannot pick-and-choose cities like Shanghai, Hong Kong or Singapore the put them against an entire country like USA. That is categorically absurd and looks the the results are being rigged to make a point instead of statistical validity. Instead compare Shanghai to say Boston.

Re:Cannot compare a city to a country (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 9 months ago | (#45587395)

That accounts for 4 of the 25 entries ahead of the US on this list. It really isn't that significant.

Re:Cannot compare a city to a country (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45587785)

Actually, it is significant.

If China as a whole was counted, their rating would drop like a rock cause their education system in the countryside is horrible. And guess where do most Chinese citizens live? Here a hint: Not in the cities.

Its exactly the same problem the US suffers (albeit city/countryside depends on the state). New York City schools are horrible, but New York state 'countryside' schools are fine. Dallas, Texas schools are fine, but Texas state 'countryside' schools are horrible.

Re:Cannot compare a city to a country (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 9 months ago | (#45587413)

Or perhaps, at best, an entire Chinese province to a US State. The results of this study only show that students in the best Chinese schools are only slightly above US with all of its good schools and bad averaged together.

Take the test yourself (5, Informative)

Guillermito (187510) | about 9 months ago | (#45587419)

Here

http://www.oecd.org/pisa/test/ [oecd.org]

You can take a sample test yourself. See how basic the questions are and feel appalled to see the % of students in your country that managed to pass each level.

For example, only 11% of students in my country (Argentina) were able to reach level 3 (identify the smallest value in a table). Highest rank for that question was Shanghai-China (89%). USA was 48%.

Re:Take the test yourself (3, Insightful)

lagomorpha2 (1376475) | about 9 months ago | (#45587561)

(identify the smallest value in a table). Highest rank for that question was Shanghai-China (89%). USA was 48%.

Thanks, before I was just disappointed with America, now I'm disappointed in the world!

Re:Take the test yourself (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45587777)

Here

http://www.oecd.org/pisa/test/ [oecd.org]

You can take a sample test yourself. See how basic the questions are and feel appalled to see the % of students in your country that managed to pass each level.

For example, only 11% of students in my country (Argentina) were able to reach level 3 (identify the smallest value in a table). Highest rank for that question was Shanghai-China (89%). USA was 48%.

It's really more depressing when you take the sample questions. I find it sad, but I do remember grading high school physics test where one student couldn't even spell his name correctly for 2 points.

I just don't think he cared.

Slashdot QOTD from Stanley Garn (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45587435)

"If the aborigine drafted an IQ test,
all of Western civilization would presumably flunk it."

It's more a reflection of how education is valued (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45587471)

It's not often that you get a community up to a nation that actually cares about education as a good in its own right.

Education isn't a guarantee of anything other than being educated. In particular, it cannot and never will be able to guarantee employment. At best it can help, but that's about all. The current bollocks of assessing everything all the time and declaring that the world will end unless every student isn't passing everything or worse, is "only average" is not enhancing the inherent value of education but destroying it.

It's ok to be rubbish at some things, average at other things and decent at a few. It's part of the human experience.

God help me, but Boris Johnson is right!

Whites need to stop being "White" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45587495)

Whites need to start competing in this world. Five centuries of colonization have created a sense of entitlement that won't help in the labor marketplace. Now that a half millennium of global blue-eyed rule is ending, humanity is quickly returning to the norm that has dominated since the Pleistocene, to wit, the resumption of Asian rule with the transitional period of job stealing and scholarship snatching.

The Fourteenth Amendment turned out to be the very suicide pact about which the slave owners squawked nearly a century and a half ago.

Re:Whites need to stop being "White" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45587751)

This could be the reason. Western people (both USA and Europe) have taken their dominance as granted and thus the struggle to strive high has diminished. That flame must be lit again.

Missing in action. (5, Funny)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 9 months ago | (#45587533)

I did what every Indian (or Indian American) does. First see where India is ranked. Then where Pakistan is. Laugh at Pakistan when it is beaten. If either or both are missing bemoan the loss of another opportunity to laugh at Pakistan. (What if Pakistan wins, you ask? bah! that never happens )

Well, whole of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan ... Looks like the entire subcontinent is missing. China has a few urban centers represented. Africa is gone. So it falls into the bemoan the ... category.

"Asia dominates...." (1)

globaljustin (574257) | about 9 months ago | (#45587659)

In gaming out standardized tests...

that's all this is measuring...whose standardized test-prep is better...

this does not measure education level or mental ability

Gender gaps (4, Informative)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about 9 months ago | (#45587879)

TFS: "The study shows also a slight gender cap: in all countries, boys generally perform a bit better than girls, but this applies only to math."

PISA 2012 Overview: "Boys perform better than girls in mathematics in only 37 out of the 65 countries and economies that participated in PISA 2012, and girls outperform boys in five countries." (For the curious, they're Jordan, Qatar, Thailand, Malaysia and Iceland.)

The Guardian article didn't get this wrong. What the hell, submitter?

Intellectual wealth (1)

Reliable Windmill (2932227) | about 9 months ago | (#45587953)

I hope they can keep more and more of this intellectual wealth in Asia, instead of having it usurped by the U.S. Asian governments and large corporations need to treat highly educated people to better job offerings.

Not that important (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45587981)

The US dominates the Nobel prizes. Does it matter? Asia dominates math learning. Does it matter?

Probably not. Not economically. Not societally. You need a number of engineers, and accountants don't need mathematics to speak of. The modern-day services and industries need mainly good ideas. The rest follows on its own.

The main thing to teach teenagers is how stuff works (basic science, geography, history, English etc) so they can understand what is going on around them and make educated voting decisions.

Agreed, Asia rocks education (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about 9 months ago | (#45588091)

My girl friend is Asian and she agrees that North America has an education system that is about as "good" as toilet paper. By the time my girl friend was in grade 3 she was doing grade 8 level north american math. She was only allowed to eat dinner when all her homework was done and she had HOURS of homework a night. She didn't get a lot of time off school and if her marks weren't in the high 80's and 90's she got punished. When she came to Canada in grade 4 she was shocked. She told me that until grade 10 she wasn't even challenged and frankly that even high school was easier then her grade 3. So don't be surprised.
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