NSTA responds to PISA results

NSTA has released the following statement regarding the results of the 2009 Program for International Student Assessment Report (PISA):

The National Science Teachers Association is cautiously optimistic and somewhat surprised in the results for Science in the PISA Report. We are cautiously optimistic in that average science scores are up from 2006; however, this growth only puts the U.S. from the lower middle to the middle of the pack. We are still behind 18 countries and only 29 percent of students tested showed proficiency in science.
We are surprised at the scores because a very limited investment has been made on a national level in training and retaining science teachers. We believe that test scores for our students could be significantly improved if schools, states, and the federal government would commit to a larger investment in science teaching and learning.
As this report shows, our international neighbors are making the investment in science education. Our ability as a nation to remain competitive with other countries is dependent on how well we educate our children in science and mathematics. We hope this report will generate more public discussion about the need to make the necessary investments in science education.

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3 Responses to NSTA responds to PISA results

  1. Tom says:

    It is a very interesting report you refer to. We had similar report here in Scandinavia realest this week. It compares the students knowledge in 2006 and 2009. Most of the countries had mad progress in most areas. But the Finish students was way better than all the other countries in practically all areas.

  2. Peter Pappas says:

    Is PISA “a Sputnik wake-up” or are international comparisons invalid. Rather than wade into that debate, I’d rather look more closely at the questions in the PISA test and what student responses tell us about American education. You can put international comparisons aside for that analysis.
    Are American students able to analyze, reason and communicate their ideas effectively? Do they have the capacity to continue learning throughout life? Have schools been forced to sacrifice creative problem solving for “adequate yearly progress” on state tests?
    I focus on a sample PISA question that offers insights into what American students can (and cannot do) in my post “Stop Worrying About Shanghai, What PISA Test Really Tells Us About American Students” http://bit.ly/eChNoY

  3. The Economy & Education Connection
    If there is to be real sustainable economic growth in the USA and around the world, and realizing that long-term growth is tied to innovations and creativity in new technologies, then education is the biggest and most significant key to economic growth and to the creation of jobs.
    With the US rapidly falling behind in the sciences, in math and in reading skills, something must be done. This trend is economically un-sustainable. What affect will such declines have in the country? And on the world?
    Declining educational excellence, in any state on the planet, reduces the ability of the affected group to be innovative and to create new technologies, new industry, new enterprises, and thus stymies long-term economic sustainability and slows job recovery over time. What should be done?
    The answer is that we must remove all obstacles that slow down, hinder or block the best chances for our children to be the very best in the sciences, in math, and in reading skills because of the direct connection education has with the success of the economy. These are the subjects from which all innovation and new technologies arise. We must provide the very best environment for success without shackling our children and grandchildren with unnecessary and useless non-productive foundations in those subjects.
    Two obstacles come to mind immediately:
    1) Since a sustainable economy is tied to continual and persistent innovations in science and math, which generates new technologies, which then become tomorrows ‘must have’ gadgets, ideas and software, which in turn fosters trade, industry and enterprise, and since all such things are conducted globally using the Metric system, then we must make an immediate switch to the metric system. The US pushed for global metrication and signed international agreements to that affect in 1875, called the ‘Convention of the Metre’. Just switch to the Metric System. No conversion charts, tables or methods between measuring systems. Conversions just muddle the issue and are efforts at procrastination. Just switch to the metric system. We will adapt.
    2) The second major obstacle to real innovation and creativity in the sciences and math is the tendency on the part of some people and organizations to demand the teaching or acknowledgement of pseudo-sciences in the science classroom. These pseudo-sciences water-down, or dumb down, our young people by confusing the teaching of real science with myth. All pseudo-sciences belong in the myth, superstition, or religious studies classes. Pseudo-sciences of all stripes have no business being taught in our science classes. This obstacle should also be removed immediately.
    So if we are truly serious about real long-term economic viability, competitiveness and growth, then all obstacles to that brighter future, where better jobs are plentiful in the US and around the world, must be immediately removed.
    Tell your Senators and Representatives. Share this on your blogs, and on twitter and facebook. Spread the word to businesses and industry, to your local school boards and state school agencies, and get this information to all your local, regional, state and national leaders.
    Spread the word. The future prosperity of our children and grandchildren is being threatened by inaction today.
    Tim Williamson

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