Thank a teacher

A good story. - promoted by david

I hope that this will temper some of the trash-talking aimed at teachers.
Mass. garners high marks on key international exam

Massachusetts eighth-graders outperformed most countries on a highly regarded international math and science exam, according to results being released Tuesday, offering fresh evidence that the state’s educational system rivals academically powerful ­nations around the globe.

In the science part of the test, only Singapore outscored Massachusetts eighth-graders. In math, Massachusetts trailed only South Korea, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, and Japan; 63 countries took the test.

Thank you, teachers!

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15 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Because we have standards...

    …and we are accountable to those standards through testing. Can we remember this next time some is tempted to talk smack about the MCAS?

    • That's not so much it. Lots of other states have tests.

      The standards in general were a good move, the high stakes in particular of MCAS in high school, not so much.

      Singapore, btw, is a country that is essentially a wealthy suburb, and all the custodians, secretaries, waitresses, and other working class people stream over the bridges from Malaysia every morning to work there. So their averages scores are high because they have segregated their kids from the working class kids.

    • Did MCAS help increase

      test scores? Quite likely. Kids now know how to take tests better than they ever did. This is called score inflation.

      In terms of curriculum, standards may have helped in terms of changing what is taught. Math and reading are now being taught even earlier. To me, that is progress. The Common Core curriculum will effect a similar change.

      Accountability? Not so much. Accountability is nothing more than the production of statistical excuses and unjustified censure.

      To decide whether standards and “accountability” were needed, you’d need to compare it to what we might have done instead. Would different reform have been as effective or more effective? I have my own null hypothesis for educational programs: would any program that focuses on improving education resulted in the same or more gains? Christopher, you credit MCAS for our scores. To be convinced that MCAS was worth it, I’d need to know if it was better or worse than some other organized venture to improve learning? Almost any time a large initiative is set in motion there are positive changes. The question is, would things have been better the other way?

  2. "Chinese Taipei"?

    However, for referring to Taiwan as “Chinese Taipei”, the Globe fails the geography portion of the test.

    However, they could still pass the civil exam to work for the State Department!

    • It's probably how the exam referred to them

      Taiwan often uses that name when participating in international events in deference to the mainland government’s sensitivities. Still, you are correct. The Globe should have change the name to the more familiar Taiwan in their coverage.

    • What's wrong with Chinese Taipei?

      Taiwan isn’t that much more correct, they’d probably rather be called the Republic of China. Of course, as Marcus pointed out, that would ruffle some feathers.

  3. kirth, would you then...

    …blame teachers in alabama for their very low scores?

    i think MA beat AL by 190 points on 8th grade math.

    i don’t even think saban’s crimson tide could beat umass by that many points.

    • No. Why would I do that?

      Here are a couple of data points:
      Average Alabama teacher salary: $47,803
      Average Massachusetts teacher salary: $70,752

      If you want an Alabama-level education system, paying your teachers Alabama salaries is probably a good place to start. Complaining about their benefit packages at every opportunity would probably be effective, too.

      I’m sure you don’t want that kind of education system, and that you don’t make those kind of complaints, do you, Mr. gonewild?

      • Look at average home prices

        Average price of new home in Alabama 154K in Massachusetts 364K – I think the teachers in Alabama are better off.

        A comparable home in Alabama costs 42% of what a home in Massachusetts does, while their salaries are 67% of a Massachusetts teacher earns.

        Without getting into Red State/Blue State comparisons – a lot of this difference is historical – the culture going back to colonial times did not value education

        • So - when are you moving?

          If teachers are better off in AL, it must follow that architects are too, right?

          Gosh, we’ll miss you.

          Wait, wait! I just learned that real estate is dirt cheap in Rwanda! You should look into that.

        • If ...

          I strongly encourage those who like the Alabama lifestyle to move there, rather than relentlessly continuing to try and Alabamafy Massachusetts. I understand they have lots of pickup trucks in Alabama — if they have any suitable National Guard openings, perhaps a certain soon-to-be former Senator might lead the Tea Party exodus from Massachusetts.

          I’ve been to Alabama.

          If I wanted to live in Alabama, I would have moved there decades ago.

        • Houses are cheap in Alabama

          for a reason. I’ve been there. Once was enough.

          • Houses and Apartments are very expensive here

            I would love my children to be able to live around here – but chances are they will move someplace where they can afford to live.
            It’s just not Alabama, it’s Texas or Tennessee.

  4. MCAS Question

    Wasn’t the State of Massachusetts going to do away with them, and use another standard ?

    • Yes, it will be replaced by

      the Common Core standards. There are two consortiums developing tests for two groups of states. Massachusetts belongs to PARCC. All the states in that consortium will take identical, or almost identical tests in place of MCAS.

      The standards focus more on non-fiction and spread reading and writing instruction throughout the content areas. So my friend the health teacher will be teaching, to some extent, reading and writing. The Common Core will also build on the progress made in reading instruction in the lower grades. NCLB encouraged working on kids being able to recognize words (that’s an oversimplification), and the Common Core will push for a follow up working on comprehension earlier.

      If the standards are implemented well enough, they could effect some improvements. As I said previously, however, anything that focuses time, resources, and attention on instruction would likely have a good effect on learning. If the new testing leads to an over-emphasis on test prep, rather than learning, the Common Core’s effect will be minimized.

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Fri 28 Apr 2:31 AM