Subtracting from our future The Australian Financial Review But even well-staffed, well-equipped private schools now produce fewer maths teachers. As we have neglected our skills, we have also been embellishing the frills.
Last week, Pearson Education released its annual global educational performance report. Once again, their findings provide a roadmap for teaching students in the 21st century and for why Asian nations are racing ahead.
Building on their last report, which I covered here, one of Pearson's key findings is that increased financial investments in education do not inexorably lead to concomitant academic returns. That news is particularly troubling for the United States, which leads the developed world in per pupil education spending and where increased education investment is often pitched as the antidote to the country’s mediocre standing in global measures of college and career readiness. While the US moved up slightly in the new rankings, the number of college degrees conferred has kept the US from advancing further. Moreover, how we utilize our college-educated workforce could lead to future problems.
The Learning Curve 2014 uses data gathered by The Economist Intelligence Unit to determine which countries are doing the best job in preparing students for the 21st century workforce. The report uses statistics on such indicators as spending, school attendance, teacher salary, test scores (including PISA, TIMSS, and PIRLS), employment rates and salaries to rank the countries. You could spend hours reviewing all of the metrics Pearson and the Economist use to evaluate educational systems across the globe.
While the sheer volume of metrics indicates that one bad score won’t kill you, you can still identify plenty of trends from the data. For instance, Indonesia (No. 40), Brazil (No. 38), Thailand (No. 35) and Chile (No. 32) were among the lowest educational performers of the 39 countries and one region (Hong Kong) ranked, yet they rank among the world’s top spenders on public education as a percentage of their total governments’ expenditures.
What did affect achievement, Pearson found, was when educational systems placed a priority on basic skill development. Not surprisingly, the top four countries overall – South Korea (No. 1), Japan (No. 2), Singapore (No. 3) and Hong Kong (No. 4) – all put an emphasis on their students developing basic skills, such as numeracy and literacy.
WA schools trialling Singapore maths lessons to boost results Perth Now Dianella Heights Primary School principal Greg Sullivan said his school was looking at new ways to improve numeracy standards after finding maths results were stagnating.
BBC News Maths reforms 'may turn pupils off' Aol Money Universities could do more to endorse maths, as well as highlighting the mathematical requirements of degree courses and the benefits for youngsters with decent maths skills.
The Australian Financial Review Australia's maths crisis The Australian Financial Review “Australia is quite possibly the only developed nation on the planet that does not make it compulsory to study maths in order to graduate from high school,”...
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