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WSJ Story: New Calculation: Math in Preschool

  1. Nov 30, 2011 #1

    rhody

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    I normally don't post here, and wanted to run this data by experts who can substantiate or refute the findings in this WSJ story:
    If I understand this correctly all participating countries are given the SAME international math exam, and the US ranks 25th and Israel ranked 31st for average Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2009 math literacy scores among Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries. The ranking for Israel strikes me oddly, leading me to question how it can rank six spots below the US.

    From this link in April of 2007, it says Israel ranked 39th in the same assessment, four years earlier.
    Note the text in blue above. Can the low scores be correlated with the secondary school teacher's strike ?

    A general observation, I believed, perhaps naively, that Israel produced more great mathematician's and physicists per capita than any other country in the world. For this reason, it led me to question the rankings results. Where did the students make up the slack at higher education levels ?

    Rhody...
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 30, 2011 #2
    While there certainly have been many great mathematicians of Jewish ethnic descent, I don't think that Israel as a country produces a disproportionate number of mathematicians. I believe that most of the well-known Jewish mathematicians in recent history came from Europe (Western and Eastern).

    I am no expert (and am not Jewish myself), so someone may prove me wrong. There have been various discussions about the cultural factors that promoted math and science as admirable careers in the Ashkenazi Jewish community. You might be able to track some down online.
     
  4. Dec 1, 2011 #3
    I would guess it is the discrepancy between averages and individuals. While Dutch, on average, produce ok-ish math students in high school, the environment is not such that those who excel are pushed to their full capability. There are other countries where the average is lower, but those who excel are pushed more by, for instance, going (or gaining entrance) to a private or special school - like the US, some of the former communist countries, and maybe Israel.
     
  5. Dec 2, 2011 #4

    rhody

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    This is a general observation as this is my first post in Math and Science Learning. In other forums there are usually about 100+ views per post on average, and yet in this thread after two posts, the number of views is 1245. Is this because there are more "hard core" consistent PF math members, or because of the subject itself ?

    For the record, I have no "hidden" agenda based on the data presented for Israel's 15 year old's math ranking.

    Rhody...
     
  6. Dec 2, 2011 #5

    Office_Shredder

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    Even accepting the premise that Israel does produce a disproportionate number of mathematical geniuses (which I don't believe to be true, I'm fairly certain all the Jewish mathematicians are from NYC) you would want to check their rankings from 15-30 years ago to draw any conclusions. Maybe their education system is in decline.

    To be honest Israel is not a particularly first worldy country across the board, so it doesn't surprise me that they don't have spectacular educational testing results
     
  7. Dec 2, 2011 #6
    So you think that all physicists and mathematicians of Jewish descent are products of Israel? What a joke...
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2011
  8. Dec 2, 2011 #7

    rhody

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    pergradus,

    No, I don't. In the back of my mind I was anticipating a backlash. You did not fail to disappoint. I am not Jewish. I have friends who are of all colors, races and religions, including Jewish people. If you don't have anything positive (backed by supporting data) to say, then I encourage you to keep your opinions to yourself.

    Rhody... :mad:
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2011
  9. Dec 2, 2011 #8

    Chi Meson

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    I looked and looked and couldn't see where Rhody came close to saying that.
     
  10. Dec 2, 2011 #9
    it would be interesting to see where the data is coming from. even in the USA, a lot of the religious jewish kids (the boys at least) are only getting about an 8th-grade secular education. whatever the minimum requirement from the government is. after that, they go into religious studies because they believe there is no higher goal than studying torah. if these data are a comingling of secular and religious students, then a comparison of the two might tell the story.

    the whole sefardi/ashkenazi thing seems like a can of worms...
     
  11. Dec 7, 2011 #10
    rhody, i came across this today, and it seems to address some of the questions. pdf at link.

    http://taubcenter.org.il/index.php/...nd-its-implications-a-visual-roadmap/lang/en/

     
  12. Dec 7, 2011 #11

    rhody

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    Thanks Proton,

    After a quick read of the "The Taub Center for Social 16 Policy Studies in Israel" you provided, I was surprised to find that:
    Rhody...
     
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