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PISA results unassailable, says education exec

December 13,2010 by: admin

Mark Schneider, former Commissioner for the research arm of the Department of Education said that the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) result is unquestionable. Schneider who visited China for some educational research said that there has been no evidence for cheating thus the result of the international standardized exam is legitimate.

The Program for International Student Assessment is a test given to students aged 15. It is aimed at monitoring the educational levels of countries worldwide. It is conducted every 3 years by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Shanghai did not participate in the 2007 assessment so the latest results surprised a majority of countries. Shanghai topped all 3 fields covered by PISA: science, math and reading comprehension.

American and European officials who directed the test in 65 countries said that the leading scores of the Shanghai students is not a representation of the entire Chinese population nevertheless this achievement of China still challenged the United States and other countries.

In the reading comprehension exam Shanghai scored 556 while the United States ranked 17th with the score of 500. In science Shanghai topped with the score of 575 while the United States fell into the 23rd place with the score of 502. Lastly, in the math test Shanghai ranked 1st with the score of 600 and the United States scored 487.

There have been several floating ideas on how Shanghai was able to outscore the rest of the participating countries. Some accounted it to the learning culture of the Chinese. In China education is given high priority, thus students are studying for long hours daily plus they normally lengthen their school works even during weekends. Another point raised is that Chinese students tend to be less involved in sports, music and arts unlike students in the United States. Chinese students are said to be more concerned with their core subjects. It is also notable that in China teachers are highly-paid and their salaries are comparable with the salary of professionals like doctors.

It can be one of the factors mentioned or it could also be the confluence of these things that made it possible for Shanghai to top the recently held international standardized examination. Nonetheless this is a great leap forward for the Chinese as well as the Asian nations and at the same time a huge challenge for western countries like the United States.

According to the United States Education Secretary this PISA result is definitely a wake-up call for the United State and for rest of the countries.


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