UPDATE: International study ranks US students below average - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

UPDATE: International education study ranks US students below average

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MADISON (WKOW) -- An international assessment of 15 year-old students shows the United States is performing below average in mathematics and science.

The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) shows the US ranked 26th in mathematics, 21st in science and 17th in reading among 34 developed nations in 2012.

The authors of the study conclude Common Core standards could help US students perform better.

Middleton-Cross Plains School Superintendent Don Johnson agrees.

"Japan, Finland, Singapore, any of the top scoring (nations), they have clearly a national curriculum with national standards and its non-negotiable," explains Johnson.

The US currently lacks such national standards, but 45 states are implementing Common Core Standards to provide a more streamlined approach across the country.

"It will raise the standards, I believe, because we've been running in different directions because of standards throughout the country, and I think its time that we kind of settle on some," said Johnson.

But Edgewood College Dean of Education Tim Slekar disagrees.

"Suggesting that the Common Core Standards are the solution to our international test scores and bringing them up - I don't think that's the solution," said Slekar.

Slekar says American students who live above the poverty line compare much more favorably with their international peers, which tells him the current standards aren't the problem.

"Its a certain group of children that we're not meeting, and those are the kids that are living in low socio-economic conditions," said Slekar.

He says addressing the needs of the 25 percent of American students living in poverty is the key to better performance.

"Hunger, health care and access to books," are the keys according to Slekar.

But Don Johnson says schools can't control many of those factors and cannot let them be excuses.

"'Well, they have this problem, so its OK if they fail.'  Really?  How can we actually say that its OK that they fail because, well, their parents don't make as much money," asked Johnson.

The battle over Common Core Standards is still being waged here in Wisconsin, where a legislative committee is preparing its recommendations on whether to scrap them or keep them.

But they have already been implemented statewide and DPI Superintendent Tony Evers contends he has sole authority over whether to keep them in place.  Evers has expressed his support for the new standards since 2010.

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MADISON (WKOW) -- An international assessment of 15 year-old students shows the United States is performing below average in mathematics and science.

The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) shows the US ranked 26th in mathematics, 21st in science and 17th in reading among 34 developed nations in 2012.

The PISA study concludes that the top-performing mathematics score came from Shanghai, China, whose performance is equivalent of over two years of formal schooling ahead of Massachusetts, one of the top-performing US states.

The PISA study also made the following conclusions:

• While the U.S. spends more per student than most countries, this does not translate into better performance. For example, the Slovak Republic, which spends around USD 53 000 per student, performs at the same level as the United States, which spends over USD 115 000 per student.
• Just over one in four U.S. students do not reach the PISA baseline Level 2 of mathematics proficiency – a higher-than-OECD average proportion and one that hasn't changed since 2003. At the opposite end of the proficiency scale, the U.S. has a below-average share of top performers.

• Students in the United States have particular weaknesses in performing mathematics tasks with higher cognitive demands, such as taking real-world situations, translating them into mathematical terms, and interpreting mathematical aspects in real-world problems. An alignment study between the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics and PISA suggests that a successful implementation of the Common Core Standards would yield significant performance gains also in PISA.

  • Do you think implementation of the Common Core Standards will help U.S. students better compete with international students?

  • Thank you for participating in our poll. Here are the results so far:

    Yes
    31%
    264 votes
    No
    69%
    585 votes
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