PISA excuses debunked – The future global power houses are made clear.
The UK along with many European countries and the USA did not perform well in the recent Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) education comparison tests. Sadly this is not new, with no significant changes in results for Science, English or maths for the last few years.
Of course, funding, infrastructure, accessibility and many other such factors have a negative effect on the general academic performance of some countries and these are generally improving, but this is not the case for the so-called ‘developed countries’ of Europe, the US and others.
The common defensive cry from these countries is that “Our students get a well-rounded education compared to other countries”. Such statements rather smugly suggest that although we score low in these tests the education systems in these economically developed countries produce ‘thinking humans’ rather than some form of ‘parrot like automaton,’ but this is merely an excuse to cover the real crises our educational systems are in.
The use of the term ‘excuse’ may seem harsh to some, but it is common to hear even supposedly informed people claim that countries such as China are only able to copy or mimic technological developments and do not have the imagination or other skills required to develop it themselves. Sadly, evidence to the contrary is easy to find. The University of Stuttgart and Fraunhore Europe’s largest application-oriented research organization have produced a report which shows that China has already surpassed both America and Germany in the number of new patent registrations being made, even doubling the patent applications made by America in 2015.
It is clearly well past the time that we pulled our heads out of the sand and stopped making these false statements that we are raising ‘the thinkers that will shape the global future’. It is time to wake up and accept that our current educational systems do not work and that we are failing our children, their future and our countries future.
Students in high ranking countries such as China take their education very seriously. There is no time for football games, parties or proms, they are too busy preparing for their bright future and then study up to six additional hours every day to make sure that they make the grades that will make a difference to their chances of success in life.
“While we may be looking down upon China, sniggering at their attempts to develop a world-beating football team, they are quietly developing the world beating scientists of the future”.
These education performance comparisons will ultimately be reflected in global effectiveness in the future and this is why the academically disadvantaged students in countries such as the UK and USA cannot afford to continue to sit back and allow their failing education systems to worsen, but what should they do?
It is not that the students from any one country are ‘brighter’ or are ‘academically more adept’ than another, it is simply a case that educational policies and systems in the UK, Europe and USA are simply not developing their nations potential brain power. It is important to remember that it is not the student’s fault, the ability is there. It is not due to a lack of money or investment as some academically poor performing countries invest more money into education than those at the top of the list. So what is it?
Certainly, poor national policy and implementation plays a large role in the failure of our education systems to develop our children to their full potential, but there is more to it than that and it involves all of us.
In China, competition to do well in academic subjects is fierce at all levels. Much of the motivation for students to do well comes from their parents and family members, who instill the need to concentrate and work hard on their studies. This is because the alternative maybe future poverty and shame. This same seriousness for academic development is also followed through in schools where strict behavior in class is a must. Good behavior in class allows teachers to spend time teaching the subject rather than wasting valuable time dealing with unruly children. In these classrooms the expectations are high and there are no excuses.
While there may be some areas where countries performing well in global comparison tables could improve by adding some elements of social development and pproblem-solvinginto their curriculum it is also clear that the lower academically ranked countries can benefit from increasing academic rigor and academic behavior into their homes and schools.
This does not mean that the poor performance of countries is simply because teachers are failing to control their students in class. A child’s behavioral traits and motivation to learn and do well in their academic studies is initially forged in home environment where the parents and family members constantly push their children to do well in school and to study hard so that one day they can get all the things in life that they did not have.
The concern is that there is evidence of countries such as China looking to actively develop their cognitive development programs and further improve their educational standings while the UK and others appear to be simply burying their heads in the sand by going on the defensive, either debunking the results all together or falling back on clearly unfounded excuses for their consistently poor performance.
If we continue to neglect our children’s academic potential then the future of global power is clear – it is written in these results.
The author has taught and managed educational programs in the UK, Middle East, and China. He is an experienced educational leader and has over thirty years of hair loss to show for it.
Written for MakeMeClever.com sharing global cleverness.
Author CW. Main image: Pixabay stevepb