Sunday, December 12, 2010

How Canadian schools are ranking

A big discussion on Cross Country Checkup: there is great fear that Canada has fallen behind in International (PISA) Tests. Perhaps it is only the media generating the conflict!

The test: OECD: Education: Korea and Finland top OECD's latest PISA survey of education performance

One commenter, John Myers, of OISE, wrote:
What nonsense! 10 points out of 500+ means a drop over 3 years of 2% which could be measurement error, especially given the different societies and systems that are being compared and when you think of the increased percentage of those graduating from secondary school and the ethnic and linguistic diversity in parts of Canada.

Too much homework, not enough. The debate continues.

Science experiment!
All of these things influence whether a student achieves.
I believe that the most powerful influence is the cultural of the child's family. That is, do they believe in a work ethic?
Do they support the value of education?
Are they responsive to their child's needs?
Do they read and write standard English?

If they were successful in school, chances are the kids will do well.
If parents value reading and writing, if they believe that their child should learn math, and can learn math, then the teacher has a much better chance.

To predict school success: look at the education of the parents. In many cultures homework and a work ethic is valued. In some it is not. Kids involved in extra-curricular activities do not want homework.

Chinese kids have to do well, or they end up going to bad schools. They do not have school choice. When Chinese kids emigrate, they show their work ethic and amaze their peers.
In Canada, we do not fail kids. Kids have no chance to review, relearn or remediate what they do not know.

Many still advocate for the three 'R's. Back to basics? When have we not taught reading and writing. Oh my. Our Canadian system is doing well. We teach a wide range of kids: those living in poverty, those who have lived through trauma, those who are victims of war, violence and famine.

It is the unmotivated kids come to school focusing on their iPods, not their lessons, who bring down test scores. These kids who find familiarity in failure. They fear school. They fight it.
Do not blame the teachers.
There are many kids who work hard, who come well-fed, prepared to learn and want to succeed. Let's hear about them!


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