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Featured What does the American educational system (K-12) teach well?

  1. Jan 23, 2017 #141

    Andy Resnick

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    Yes, but the prevalence of poor test scores (leading to state takeover) would indicate the system does this poorly as well :)

    I agree that the current metastasis of standardized tests is unfortunate. 5 year old kids have no comprehension of "multiple choice tests", and so the teacher has to spend time explaining how to fill in ovals, only select one oval, etc. and it only gets worse as kids get older: multiple annual standardized tests with practice pre-tests and re-tests for each, meaning a significant fraction of class time is not spent learning but spent 'testing'. The introduction of high stakes testing has led to unethical behavior by teachers and administrators. I could write a long screed about the misguided rationale to develop quantitative metrics for education...

    I would like to point out something your post alludes to "Imagine a doctor forced to get the biometrics of each of his patients into the "normal" range as defined by a standardized test.", because there are significant differences between student and patient.

    In fact, I have an annual "wellness exam", and if my objective biometrics (blood pressure, BMI, cholesterol, triglycerides, blood glucose, etc) are in the normal range, then my health insurance premium is discounted- I have a significant financial incentive to maintain health. However, if my numbers are outside of the normal range, my doctor is not criticized, I am. My doctor is not penalized, I am. The doctor has no 'fiduciary duty' for my health.

    That is the opposite case for education! When students have low test scores, the teachers and schools are criticized and penalized.
  2. Jan 23, 2017 #142
    A doctor would and should be penalized if he said a patient was healthy when their biometrics were clearly in the unhealthy range.

    This is the fraud perpetuated by many teachers today: they pass students when the available metrics of their learning do not demonstrate that they are healthy educationally. We should only penalize teachers for unhealthy metrics of students who they pass.
  3. Jan 25, 2017 #143
    Hi @StatGuy2000:
    I find this question very difficult to think about.

    With different criteria about what the question means, I would answer differently. First, from my observations there is no American system. Different states, and in some states different communities, have different curricula and different top goals.

    Second, what criteria is reasonable to use to measure how well the American student body as a whole has learned some subject matter. With respect to math and science, the international tests seem to be reasonably good, but what could be comparable to this with respect to other subjects?

  4. Jan 25, 2017 #144


    Staff: Mentor

    Out here its called Naplan testing.

    The principle of the following school is on a crusade against it:

    My nieces attended there for a while and like Templestowe college I mentioned before is one of those schools on the right track.

  5. Feb 9, 2017 #145
    I had some lousy teachers but many of the good ones taught me to question authority . . .
  6. Mar 5, 2017 #146


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    that's not good... authority should not be questioned.
  7. Mar 5, 2017 #147


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    I question that. :smile:
  8. Mar 5, 2017 #148


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    question the moderators then... :-p
  9. Mar 9, 2017 #149
    Not reading, Doc
    At least 20% of all kids (and adults) are dyslexic and our system does not address their needs properly. Please look at this discussion on another Forum:
    https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/evidence-of-print-inversion-in-dyslexic-readers-writers.906494/ [Broken]

    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2017
  10. Mar 9, 2017 #150

    Teachers are told what, when where and how to teach.
    If it's not working look at the administration and the educrats at the top.
  11. Mar 9, 2017 #151
    Sorry Stat, can't agree
    In our system today many of the best teachers leave and the poor ones stay.

    I'm speaking from experience....

  12. Mar 9, 2017 #152
    Totally agree with you, Dave
  13. Mar 9, 2017 #153
    Agree, Doc
    But that is our system.....
  14. Mar 9, 2017 #154

    Sorry Dave, Can't agree here.
    Maybe you travel in exceptionally literate circles, but generally we suck at teaching reading.
    When I say "we" I mean the American system - not me.
  15. Mar 9, 2017 #155
    Sorry Stat,
    Teachers, at least in my school, were not allowed to be creative. Again, I've said this before,
    teachers are told when, where and how to teach their subject. Step out of line and you are in for a hard time.
  16. Mar 9, 2017 #156


    Staff: Mentor

    I was so saddened to hear of your experience.

    The discusting thing is what you were trying to do is exactly what research shows leads to effective teaching ie forming good relationships with students. I think I have posted it before but will do it again:

    Professor John Hattie, Director of the Melbourne Education Research Institute at the University of Melbourne and chairman of the Federal Government's Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL)

    John Hattie is a straight-talking academic with a passion for trying to understand, measure and share what makes a difference in the classroom.

    His study on what really matters to help students learn and progress has been described as the 'holy grail' of effective teaching and he is arguably the world's most influential education researcher.

    His 2008 book, Visible Learning, is the largest ever collection of evidence-based research into what makes a difference for students, ranking the factors which most improve learning. It was the culmination of 15 years of research, incorporating more than 50,000 studies on schools involving millions of students.

    Professor Hattie found improving the quality of feedback students receive and ensuring positive teacher-student interaction led to the best outcomes. It is a pupil's ability to assess their own performance and to discuss how they can improve with the teacher that makes the most difference.

    Somewhat controversially, he also says the evidence shows that factors such as class size, homework and public or private schooling are not nearly as important to students' learning progression as the quality of individual teachers.

    Born in New Zealand, John Hattie grew up in the regional port city of Timaru, and after school worked as a house painter before going to university and gaining a teaching diploma. He gained his PhD in 1981 and has worked at universities around the world before taking up his position in Melbourne in 2011.

    Notice my highlighted bit. What your administration is doing is the exact opposite. Its not as if its a secret - its in his very well regarded book. Why oh why dont administrators read and act on it. It just makes no sense.

    Just as an aside there is a school in Australia that IMHO does it right:

    No grades, flexible learning, no high stakes tests to get into university - you go when you are ready - many many innovative things, but overall its exactly what Professor Hatttie says - you form good relationships with students.


    Students loving school - we cant have that can we?

  17. Mar 10, 2017 #157


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    Thread closed for Moderation...

    Edit (by Dale): several posts have been removed and the thread will remain closed
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 11, 2017
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