Thursday, July 15, 2010

Still Rushing to Nowhere; Still Competing for ...?

Two years after the 2008 TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study), little of educational note has changed. Particularly missing is the cataclysmic impact that study was supposed to predict for our society.

US eighth graders (average 508) were beaten out on math tests by eighth graders from South Korea (597) , Singapore (593), Hong Kong (572) , Japan (570), England (513), and Russia (512). So, what did TIMSS top-rankers win? And what did the U.S. lose? The greatest damage done in the United States has been by people, bankers and speculators, who, you can bet, would themselves be top-rankers on the TIMMS.

If you worried about these scores, did you ask yourself, “What do these numbers mean?” Anybody who claims to know whether they justified anything but the mildest concern – along the lines of “Will my tomatoes yield better next Summer?” – is bluffing.

Of course you will hear the eternal, “Down the road,” or “in the future,” or “in the long run this lack of (what?) could hurt us.” Chicken Little with a crystal ball. Where was this crystal ball when the economy was falling apart?

To examine these issues further, see U.S. Students Reported to ‘Lag’ in the TIMSS: another bulletin from Chicken Little?

-- EGR

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