This sounds bad:
In the United States, only 7 percent of students reached the advanced level in eighth-grade math, while 48 percent of eighth graders in Singapore and 47 percent of eighth graders in South Korea reached the advanced level. As those with superior math and science skills increasingly thrive in a global economy, the lag among American students could be a cause for concern.
The impact of improving [...] scores could be radical: A recent OECD study with Stanford University projected that if the U.S. boosted its average PISA scores by 25 points over the next 20 years, there would be a gain of $41 trillion in the U.S. economy over the lifetime of the generation born in 2010. [ nytimes.com ]
However, it ain’t just the maths what we’re not the most good at. Some report the google found for me says we need to read more better, too:
Scores from the 2009 Programme for International Student Assessment released Tuesday show 15-year-old students in the U.S. performing about average in reading and science, and below average in math. Out of 34 countries, the U.S. ranked 14th in reading, 17th in science and 25th in math.
The 2009 exam had an extra focus on reading, and looked at how factors such as family background, equity of resources, and governance influence educational outcomes.
The top performers in reading were South Korea, Finland, Hong Kong and Shanghai in China, Singapore, Canada, New Zealand, Japan and Australia. [ msnbc.com ]
As current and future teachers and practitioners of mathematics, we may have limited impact on the second problem above, but we should certainly redouble our efforts to address the first problem. Let’s use this report as impetus to kick the teaching seminar into high-gear next semester. First meeting: Wednesday, January 30th, 4:00 p.m., Loyola Hall Seminar Room. Be there.