By Allan Alach
The New Zealand school year (Australia also) is coming to an end, and teachers are looking forward to a well deserved rest. In line with this I will be taking a break from educational issues until the end of January.
Have a great Christmas and New Year. Make sure you put your energies and time into the most important things – yourself, your family and your friends, and forget about GERM and all that this entails!
I welcome suggested articles, so if you come across a gem, email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This week’s homework!
‘Educational measurement doesn’t work and shouldn’t be called measurement. The reductionism and worship of quantification in our society is twisting education as a mantra of “improving scores” drives every decision in the schools. We should make decisions about education based on what makes sense, not merely on what improves test scores.’
Theory of Mind: Why Art Evokes Empathy
An explanation of why art should be an integral part of life.
‘We have a sense of empathy with works of art. If we see gestures in a portrait, we actually almost simulate those gestures in our mind. We often implicitly act as if we are moving our arms in response empathically to what we see in the painting.’
Who Says Math Has to Be Boring?
‘The system is alienating and is leaving behind millions of other students, almost all of whom could benefit from real-world problem solving rather than traditional drills.’
Why the United States Is Destroying Its Education System
Or why are other countries following the USA in destroying their own education systems?
‘A nation that destroys its systems of education, degrades its public information, guts its public libraries and turns its airwaves into vehicles for cheap, mindless amusement becomes deaf, dumb and blind. It prizes test scores above critical thinking and literacy. It celebrates rote vocational training and the singular, amoral skill of making money. It churns out stunted human products, lacking the capacity and vocabulary to challenge the assumptions and structures of the corporate state. It funnels them into a caste system of drones and systems managers. It transforms a democratic state into a feudal system of corporate masters and serfs.’
Even When Test Scores Go Up, Some Cognitive Abilities Don’t
‘…schools whose students have the highest gains on test scores do not produce similar gains in “fluid intelligence” — the ability to analyze abstract problems and think logically — according to a new study from MIT neuroscientists working with education researchers at Harvard University and Brown University.’
More on PISA
The PISA 2012 scores show the failure of ‘market based’ education reform.
Pasi Sahlberg – do I need to write anything else?
‘PISA consumers should note that not every high-scoring school system is successful. A school system is “successful” if it performs above the OECD average in mathematics, reading literacy and science, and if students’ socio-economic status has a weaker-than-average impact on students’ learning outcomes. The most successful education systems in the OECD are Korea, Japan, Finland, Canada and Estonia.My personal takeaway from the PISA 2012 study is how it proves that fashionable Global Educational Reform Movement (GERM) is built on wrong premises.’
The Pitfall of PISA Envy
‘Recognizing people or nations for doing the right thing for the wrong reasons can be misleading and ultimately unsustainable. PISA’s rankings on their own are useless. The real lessons from PISA are found from researching how each nation achieved their results and then assessing their methods via ethical criteria that is independent of their results.’
Among the Many Things Wrong With International Achievement Comparisons
‘My attention was drawn to the section on “misinterpreting international test scores,” since I have long felt that these international assessments are a mess of uninterpretable numbers providing a full-employment program for psychometricians, statisticians, and journalists.’
Education rankings “flawed”
‘But as Pisa’s influence has grown, so has the attention it gets from academics. And 13 years in – with a towering stack of policy and reforms and reputations at stake – some who have examined Pisa closely are adamant that the whole thing is built on swampy statistical ground. Many believe there are problems with the way data is collected and analysed. These problems go so deep and matter so much, some say, that we should ignore the rankings completely – and certainly stop using them to drive changes to the way we teach our children.’
The leaning tower of PISA?
‘The assumption that questions are equally difficult for people in different countries is fundamental in the OECD’s analysis of the results and this, according to Spiegelhalter is a major flaw.’
Dr. Christopher Tienken Explains PISA and Real Education Beyond PISA
‘Not only are PISA results influenced by experiences “in the home and beyond”, but there is a sizeable relationship between the level of child poverty in a country and PISA results. Poverty explains up to 46% of the PISA scores in OECD countries.’
From Bruce Hammond’s ‘Oldies but Goodies’ blogs from the past.
The learning brain
‘Although the structure and how the brain works are interesting to learn about what is more important is to consider how we can create the conditions, or the environment, to ensure we develop all the potential that lies within each individual brain.’