USA Not Testing High in Math
How important is it to teach math to the gifted? I received this article from my husband who received it from our School Committee neighbor in Newton. The stats are alarming … for the U. S. with its emphasis on leaving no child behind is not doing a good job at the gifted in math and the result will be a loss of human capital which does not bode well.
How is your school doing teaching math for your kids? If your child excels at math, is your school keeping your child engaged or do you do supplementation as an extracurricular. And if so, what are you doing?
Teaching Math to the Talented
Which countries—and states—are producing high-achieving students?
Eric A. Hanushek is senior fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University. Paul E. Peterson is the director of Harvard’s Program on Education Policy and Governance and senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. Ludger Woessmann is professor of economics at the University of Munich.
U. S. Math Performance in World Perspective
Overall results. The percentage of students in the U.S. Class of 2009 who were highly accomplished is well below that of most countries with which the United States generally compares itself. While just 6 percent of U.S. students earned at least 617.1 points on the PISA 2006 exam, 28 percent of Taiwanese students did. (See Figure 1 for these results as well as for the international rank of each U.S. state.)
Unfortunately, the United States trails other industrialized countries in bringing a large proportion of its students up to the highest levels of accomplishment. This is not a story of some states doing well but being dragged down by states that perform poorly. Nor is it a story of immigrant or disadvantaged or minority students hiding the strong performance of better-prepared students. Comparatively small percentages of white students are high achievers. Only a small proportion of the children of our college-educated population is equipped to compete with students in a majority of OECD countries.
Major policy initiatives within the United States have in recent years focused on the educational needs of low-performing students. Such efforts deserve commendation, but they can leave the impression that there is no similar need to enhance the education of those students the STEM coalition has called “the best and brightest.” Yet, with rapidly advancing technologies in an increasingly integrated world economy, no one doubts the extraordinary importance of highly accomplished professionals.
Admittedly, the United States could simply ignore the needs of its own young people and continue to import highly skilled scientists and engineers who were prepared by better-performing schools abroad. But even such a heartless, irresponsible strategy relies on both the nature of immigration policies and the absence of better opportunities abroad, two things on which we might not want the future to depend. It seems much more prudent to encourage the most capable of our own people to reach high levels of academic accomplishment.
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