2013 PISA Report: Wake-Up Call on US Math Education

 America again failed to perform on the PISA assessment

American parents and educators were lulled into complacency after a 2011 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study indicated that the US was on par with international averages in math. A just-released study by PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) provides a much needed wake-up call about the state of math education in this country.

The assessment administered to 15-year olds in 65 countries shows that even the top students in the US are behind, with 29 countries showing better test scores. Massachusetts, which is a high-achieving US state and which averaged above the national PISA score, is still two years of formal schooling behind Shanghai. Unfortunately, the implementation of the new common core curriculum will do little to improve these results. The reason is that when it comes to teaching math in the U.S., parents and teachers don't treat children as the intellectual beings they are. We coddle them. We dumb down math problems because we can't stand to see them struggle, but intellectual challenge is precisely what develops critical thinking skills, logic and excellence in mathematics. It's also what makes mathematics more interesting and fun.


by Inessa Rifkin
CEO & Founder, RSM


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