What We Can Learn From U.S. Ranking in PISA Report

Every three years, OECD presents the PISA report that ranks the skills and knowledge of 15 year old students throughout the world. This organization evaluates students through a triennial international survey.

The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) looked at the data of the 2012 PISA report and found a few things I thought were interesting:

  • U.S. has one of the highest child poverty rates in most developed countries (23%).
  • Score variation caused by socio-economic status; U.S. 17%, Japan 9%, & Canada 9%.
  • If cost of college is removed, U.S. is slightly above the OECD average in per pupil spending.
  • U.S. near the bottom in disparity in access of educational materials. 
  • U.S. ranked fourth in cutting spending in education.
  • U.S. are 24th in enrolling 3-year olds in pre-school.
  • 46% of teachers quit within 5 years.
  • Among all PISA countries, U.S. primary school teachers spend the most hours teaching per year, but rank near the bottom in salary.
  • Teachers in other countries spend more time preparing for lessons, grading papers, communicating with parents, and collaborating with colleagues.
  • High-performing countries do not recruit top third of college graduates. OECD states that this is “not supported by evidence.”
  • Teachers of high performing countries are well-prepared and supported throughout their careers.
  • Japan and Finland have the strongest teacher unions, but are performing highly. OECD recommends that education systems work with unions instead of blaming them.

Here is the video the AFT created that shares what they found from the report: 

The video suggests that the U.S. education system should focus their intention on:

  • Early childhood education
  • Target resources who need it the most
  • Give teachers more time
  • Proper implementation of robust curriculum
  • Appropriate testing methods
  • Treating teachers, communities, and unions as partners, instead of seeing them as the problem.
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