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Friday, December 12, 2008

How About Some GOOD Education News?

A recent report out finds that American students are making doing somewhat better as compared to students in other countries. This article was in the NY Times this week. From the article:

"American fourth- and eighth-grade students made solid achievement gains in math in recent years and in two states showed spectacular progress, an international survey of student achievement released on Tuesday found. Science performance was flat.

The results showed that several Asian countries continued to outperform the United States greatly in science and math, subjects that are crucial to economic competitiveness and research."

I know, where's the good news? Well, "solid achievement gains" are something. Here's who did well:

"Students in Massachusetts and Minnesota, which participated in a special study that attributed a score to the states as if they were individual countries, also demonstrated stellar achievement, outperforming classmates in all but a handful of countries.

In eighth-grade science, for instance, Massachusetts students, on average, scored higher than or equal to students in all countries but Singapore and Taiwan.

And in Minnesota, which has worked to improve its math curriculum, the proportion of fourth-grade students performing at the advanced level jumped from 9 percent in 1995 to 18 percent in 2007, a gain that was one of the world’s largest."

So let's find out what they are doing in Massachusetts and Minnesota (who I also believe have top ranked state tests).

Bad news from the article:

"Asia’s continuing dominance in math and science, first demonstrated in the 1990s, was especially apparent in the latest results, which showed rising percentages of high-scoring students there.

Nearly half of eighth graders scored at the advanced level in math in Taiwan, Korea and Singapore, compared with 6 percent of American students.

Comparing educational performance in the United States, a diverse country of 300 million people with 50 state educational systems, with city-states like Singapore and Hong Kong, which have populations of 4.5 million and 6.9 million people, respectively, is a bit of apples and oranges.

Still, experts said the Timss study again confirmed the tremendous gains those societies had made in just a few decades."

Other good news from the AP:

"Washington is third in the nation in the number of teachers who earned national board certification this year.

Another 918 Washington teachers earned the national credential in 2008.

The state ranks eighth in the nation for the number of teachers who have completed the strenuous requirements. A total of 2,717 Washington teachers -- or more than 5 percent of Washington's teachers -- hold the credential."

Yay for Washington and yay for our teachers. It doesn't say how many are in Seattle Public Schools but I know there are likely to be many.

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