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

. . .a pupil attitude factor, which appears to have a stronger relationship to achievement than do all the “school” factors together, is the extent to which an individual feels that he has some control over his own destiny. James Coleman, 1966

Monday, November 15, 2010

Are we bad in math? Probably not.

Are we bad in math? Probably not.

Sent to the San Jose Mercury News, Nov. 14

Is it true that "American math achievement trails most industrialized nations" (Nov. 11)?

Studies show that middle-class American children attending well-funded schools score near the top of the world in math. American average scores are unspectacular because a high percentage of American school children live in poverty (20%; Sweden has 3%).

Also, some countries inflate their scores by excluding many children of poverty from taking the test. This does not happen in the United States.

Finally, the "Stanford Study" only considered the percentage, not the number of students reaching the top level. Several countries that did better than the US have small populations (eg Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Iceland). The US had 25% of the world's top achievers on the 2009 PISA science test. China had 1%.

Stephen Krashen

Original article: http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_16577160?IADID=Search-www.mercurynews.com-www.mercurynews.com

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