PISA 2012 scores confirmed again that students in the U.S. rank average, in the middle, in global comparisons of 15 year olds who took tests in math, science, and reading.
In addition, U.S. 15 year olds scored 2 to 3 years behind their peers in Shanghai-China, Singapore, and other Asian countries.
U.S. test results remain in the middle ranks even after the extraordinary trillions of dollars U.S. governments have poured into PreK12 schools since the 1960s.
These results beg the questions, why average? What changes in policies and practices will increase test scores?
Statistically, it is most likely that Average scores will result from such a test, given comparable conditions across countries. Statisticians who analyzed PISA scores accounted for these conditions before reporting test results.
That leaves unanswered the question, what changes will likely increase the ranking next time, as did Germany, Poland, and several other countries? Must U.S. educators follow the same procedures as these advancers?
The answer is a qualified, Yes and No. Yes, they did something, so that teachers more likely matched what learners do to learn. To identify that “something” requires an analysis of their lessons. That analysis seems worthy.
No, U.S. educators should not just import programs to U.S. classroom from the best scoring countries. Educators have known since the middle 1960s how to change lessons and instruction in order to accelerate, increase, and deepen learning promptly and sometimes dramatically.
U.S. state and federal governments and foundations have invested billions of dollars to test, report, and train educators how to use these ways.
They are precise, accurate, and continuous and unappealing, because education spokes people do not endorse or use them. Instead, they continue to conduct unofficial, informal daily experiments with variations of “wish list lessons” with results that cancel each other out on tests yielding “averages.”
That leaves unanswered a troubling question. Are these informal daily experiments necessary?
Or should a private attorney bring a class action suit of malpractice against a public school district and its teachers for rationing learning? Perhaps against one of the lowest performing school districts?
Or should attorneys-general challenge their use on the grounds that they are unauthorized human experiments of the type that policy makers will not likely approve.