"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Thursday, November 29, 2007

International Reading Results of Test and Punish Policy

In international comparisons, reading ability of 4th grade American children has gone down since NCLB. In Great Britain, whose test-til-you-puke policy inspired the U. S. to get on the make-children-hate-reading bandwagon, their reading abilities have now dropped below the U. S. Give us time, give us time.

As Bracey notes in a post at Huffington, "these days, kids get to read real books only after the tests are given in the spring. The rest of "reading instruction" too often looks to me like a great method for insuring that kids never, ever, again pick up a book."

Perhaps the Crackpot Code Busters of reading, Reid Lyon, and his chums with the Oregon Mafia, have another grand solution they can market to American politicians of ed reform. Oh, I forgot, Lyon is busy redoing teacher education to better align with his "scientific" reading strategies.

From Bloomberg News:

Russia, Hong Kong and Singapore shot to the top of 45 countries and provinces participating in a fourth-grade reading test, while England fell below the United States, according to results released yesterday.

Researchers attributed the gains of the top three on the 2006 test to changes in curriculum and teacher training, and to adding years of schooling. No. 1 Russia, which was bested by 13 countries and provinces in 2001, had the biggest increase in its score.

In England, which had the third-largest score decline on the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study, a top education official called on the public to "kick-start a new national debate about the value of reading," and said the government would spend $10 million distributing free books.

"This study shows that our highest-achieving children are reading less, with children's busy days leaving less time for books at home," the official, Ed Balls, the U.K.'s secretary of state for children, schools and families, said in a statement.

U.S. student scores dropped two points during the same period, which test coordinators said was not statistically significant. The performance of U.S. students came four years after enactment of the No Child Left Behind Act, which imposed new requirements on schools for reading improvement.

"Clearly, as the world becomes flatter, it's becoming more competitive," said U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings in a statement. "We need to do better than simply keep pace."

England dropped to one notch below the U.S. Both countries were outscored by 13 others, including Luxembourg, Italy, Hungary, Bulgaria and Latvia. . . .

Here's the only politician who really gets it:

When I'm President, I will get rid of "No Child Left Behind". We need to stop punishing our schools.

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