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Pisa Test Scores

Discussion in 'Staffroom' started by bahn_farang, 6 Dec 2016.

  1. bahn_farang

    bahn_farang Thread Starter Well-Known Member

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    Although the debate on the validity, fairness and other issues has and will continue to fire academic conversations, the latest scores are out.

    Pisa tests: Singapore top in global education rankings - BBC News

    The story starts:

    Singapore has the highest achieving students in international education rankings, with its teenagers coming top in tests in maths, reading and science.

    The influential Pisa rankings, run by the OECD, are based on tests taken by 15-year-olds in more than 70 countries.

    The UK remains a middle-ranking performer - behind countries such as Japan, Estonia, Finland and Vietnam.

    OECD education director Andreas Schleicher said Singapore was "not only doing well, but getting further ahead".

    Thailand students performed poorly, reports the BBC article

    Screen Shot 2559-12-06 at 9.33.38 PM.png
     
    Last edited: 6 Dec 2016
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  2. bahn_farang

    bahn_farang Thread Starter Well-Known Member

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    Another article, again on the BBC site offers reasons for high performance

    Singapore - a winning combination? - BBC News

    "If you think maths is a hard subject you won't succeed," 10-year-old Hai Yang tells me.

    Along with some of the other pupils from Class 4D at Woodgrove Primary School, he's explaining the maths lesson I have just been watching.

    The whole class has just been working on a problem, taking it in turns to stand up and explain how they worked it out.

    And they do this in English, one of several languages spoken in Singapore.

    It turns out there is more than one way to reach the right solution.

    What is impressive is their commitment to understanding exactly how to do it.

    "If we just blindly look at the teacher's answer, when we grow up we might not know how to do it any more," says Megna.

    Building blocks
    This is an approach known as maths mastery which some schools in the UK have begun using in an adapted form.

    It is just part of a success story which has led to global interest.

    Singapore benefits from being a small system, where all the teachers are centrally trained at the vast National Institute of Education.

    The Director, Professor Tan Oon Seng, told me they recruit teachers for their depth of subject knowledge and expect them to make sure each child grasps the building blocks.

    "We believe in Singapore in the fundamentals, that in order for a child to be well educated you need to give them the fundamental language and grammar in various disciplines, a language where you can read, a language where you can understand numbers. "

    Singapore has also thought a lot about how to make teaching a rewarding profession.

    The status is relatively high because of the competition to get in.

    Teachers can follow a career path that takes them towards being a principal, a researcher into education or a master classroom teacher.

    They get time to deepen their knowledge and prepare lessons.

    But Singapore is not resting on its laurels.

    At two secondary schools I saw attempts to inject more creativity into learning.

    In Montfort Secondary school they are encouraging the teenage boys to make prototype products, ranging from a smart garden watering system to an electronic keyboard.

    Using your science and maths skills to solve real world problems is exactly the kind of ability the PISA tests are intended to measure.

    An empty room at the school is being turned into what they call a "makers lab".

    Simple tools and materials will be available for the pupils to use in their spare time to make things to take home.

    If they want to work out how to light up their guitar with LED lights, this is where they can do it.

    "We want to make learning authentic for students. It's got to be related to the real world, so it helps their learning, not just in science but in many other areas," said teacher Ricky Tan Pee Loon.

    Another striking feature of Singapore's education is that head teachers are rotated between schools every six to eight years

    There is also an increasing emphasis on collaboration.

    Khoo Tse Horng, the principal at St Hilda's secondary school, says teachers are working differently too.

    When he started in teaching it was much more about being mentored by someone more experienced.

    "Today teachers work in teams, they grow together, they research together, they work together."

    High stakes
    But perhaps the most powerful collaborators in Singapore's success are its parents.

    The system is competitive, with a Primary School Leaving Exam that influences whether a child gets a place at their first choice school.

    Secondary school pupils are streamed into an academic "express" stream and what is described as the normal stream which is more likely to lead to a technical or vocational diploma.

    So one evening at 20:00 I watch children as young as four practising maths at one of the 3Gabacus centres.

    Lucas, who is six, is happily solving maths problems against the clock.

    His parents Eric and Nicole Chan tell me they bring their children for an hour of extra tuition to give them extra confidence.

    There is a downside, captured in a recent film by volunteers at a Singapore brand agency.

    It is about a girl who becomes depressed and stressed in the run up to her end of primary exam.

    Jerome Lau, one of the directors at Splash, says it was inspired by the experience of a friend.

    "If you start judging them and giving them a label it's a really unfair. Every child has the potential to do well."

    Singapore's system is changing partly due to a recognition that the stakes are high.

    So changes to the way scores are published and used to rank pupils are being introduced.

    This is a system which recognises some of its weaknesses but remains committed to being remaining among the best.
     
  3. trnwrk

    trnwrk Well-Known Member

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    Education chief blames disparity in system for students’ poor show


    THE EDUCATION ministry has blamed disparity in the Thai education system for the nation’s disappointingly low scores and rankings in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS).
    Thailand remained below average in both international academic surveys for 2015, the results of which were announced yesterday by the ministry.
    While Singapore secured top ranking in both PISA and TIMSS, students in Vietnam – still regarded as an emerging country – fared better than their Thai counterparts.
    Acting Education Minister Dr Teerakiat Jareonsettasin admitted that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and the ministry were unhappy with the latest PISA score.
    “The PISA test result does not reflect that our teaching or curriculum is bad. Considering the very high scores among students from top schools such as Mahidol Wittayanusorn and Triamudom Suksa, we did very well in the test,” Teerakiat said. “But other schools, especially in rural areas, did not have such a good performance and caused the country’s average score to be low.
    “Both test results show that disparity is our major concern because there is a very wide gap between the talented students in top schools and the rest in other schools around the country. If we do not solve this problem, the next PISA and TIMSS test result will remain the same.”
    According to the latest PISA result for 2015, Thailand scored 421 in science, 415 in mathematics, and 409 in reading.
    Thailand’s overall education outcome was lower than the previous test in 2012 and was below the average of Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries.
    Scores among talented Thai students in science and reading were 567 and 537, higher than Singapore, but schools under the responsibility of the Office of the Basic Education Commission scored only 397 and 375 in science and reading respectively.
    Teerakiat said that the root of the problem was that while excellent students tended to receive support, the rest were left behind.
    He noted that the top schools received a budget of up to Bt84,000 per student, while other schools got only about Bt3,500 per student. This caused many schools, especially in rural areas, to suffer from a lack of resources and left them unable to carry out quality teaching.
    “In order to tackle the disparity problem, we will reform the resource management for education to let resources pour into schools and students who need it most to improve their education,” he said.
    PISA is an international academic survey, conducted by the OECD, which aims to evaluate education systems around the world by testing the skills and knowledge of 15-year-old students.
    They were assessed in science, mathematics, reading, collaborative problem-solving and financial literacy.
    In 2015, more than half a million students in 72 countries and economies participated in the test. In Thailand, 8,249 students from 273 schools were surveyed.
    Regarding the TIMSS result, Institute for the Promotion of Teaching Science and Technology (IPST) president Pornpun Waitayangkoon said that although the mean score in maths and science education had improved, the scores in both subjects were still below average.
    The TIMSS 2015 score for Thailand in mathematics was 431 compared to 427 in 2011, ranking 26 out of 39 countries. The score in science was 456, compared to 451 in the last assessment, which also ranked 26. The mean score for both subjects was 500.
    TIMSS is an international assessment of grade 8 students carried out by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement every four years. In Thailand 6,482 grade 8 students from 204 schools were tested.

    ****************************************************************************

    “In order to tackle the disparity problem, we will reform the resource management for education to let resources pour into schools and students who need it most to improve their education,” he said

    If Thailand continues to focus on the frosting and not the actual cake, very little will change. Improvements in education, like those seen in Singapore, come from a strong commitment to educating the educators.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: 8 Dec 2016
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  4. Gor Blimey Guvnur!

    Gor Blimey Guvnur! What the duck ! Staff Member

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    So it appears no improvement has been made in Thailand.

    As to the budgets: that is quite an imbalance at 24 times more budget for the 'top schools' versus OBEC schools which as we know make up the bulk of Thai education.

    Here's a quick FAQ link which also gives a brief explanation of the difference between PISA and TIMSS.
    FAQ - PISA
     
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  5. bahn_farang

    bahn_farang Thread Starter Well-Known Member

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    As a balance to the PISA site here is a link to an open letter addressed to Andreas Schleicher, director of the OECD's Programme for International Student Assessment

    OECD and Pisa tests are damaging education worldwide - academics | Education | The Guardian



    Dear Dr Schleicher,

    We write to you in your capacity as OECD's (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) director of the Programme of International Student Assessment (Pisa). Now in its 13th year, Pisa is known around the world as an instrument to rank OECD and non-OECD countries (60-plus at last count) according to a measure of academic achievement of 15-year-old students in mathematics, science, and reading. Administered every three years, Pisa results are anxiously awaited by governments, education ministers, and the editorial boards of newspapers, and are cited authoritatively in countless policy reports. They have begun to deeply influence educational practices in many countries. As a result of Pisa, countries are overhauling their education systems in the hopes of improving their rankings. Lack of progress on Pisa has led to declarations of crisis and "Pisa shock" in many countries, followed by calls for resignations, and far-reaching reforms according to Pisa precepts.

    We are frankly concerned about the negative consequences of the Pisa rankings. These are some of our concerns:

    • While standardised testing has been used in many nations for decades (despite serious reservations about its validity and reliability), Pisa has contributed to an escalation in such testing and a dramatically increased reliance on quantitative measures. For example, in the US, Pisa has been invoked as a major justification for the recent "Race to the Top" programme, which has increased the use of standardised testing for student-, teacher-, and administrator evaluations, which rank and label students, as well as teachers and administrators according to the results of tests widely known to be imperfect (see, for example, Finland's unexplained decline from the top of the Pisa table).

    • In education policy, Pisa, with its three-year assessment cycle, has caused a shift of attention to short-term fixes designed to help a country quickly climb the rankings, despite research showing that enduring changes in education practice take decades, not a few years, to come to fruition. For example, we know that the status of teachers and the prestige of teaching as a profession have a strong influence on the quality of instruction, but that status varies strongly across cultures and is not easily influenced by short-term policy.

    • By emphasising a narrow range of measurable aspects of education, Pisa takes attention away from the less measurable or immeasurable educational objectives like physical, moral, civic and artistic development, thereby dangerously narrowing our collective
    Imagination regarding what education is and ought to be about.

    • As an organisation of economic development, OECD is naturally biased in favour of the economic role of public [state] schools. But preparing young men and women for gainful employment is not the only, and not even the main goal of public education, which has to prepare students for participation in democratic self-government, moral action and a life of personal development, growth and wellbeing.

    • Unlike United Nations (UN) organisations such as UNESCO or UNICEF that have clear and legitimate mandates to improve education and the lives of children around the world, OECD has no such mandate. Nor are there, at present, mechanisms of effective democratic participation in its education decision-making process.

    • To carry out Pisa and a host of follow-up services, OECD has embraced "public-private partnerships" and entered into alliances with multi-national for-profit companies, which stand to gain financially from any deficits—real or perceived—unearthed by Pisa. Some of these companies provide educational services to American schools and school districts on a massive, for-profit basis, while also pursuing plans to develop for-profit elementary education in Africa, where OECD is now planning to introduce the Pisa programme.

    • Finally, and most importantly: the new Pisa regime, with its continuous cycle of global testing, harms our children and impoverishes our classrooms, as it inevitably involves more and longer batteries of multiple-choice testing, more scripted "vendor"-made lessons, and less autonomy for teachers. In this way Pisa has further increased the already high stress level in schools, which endangers the wellbeing of students and teachers.

    These developments are in overt conflict with widely accepted principles of good educational and democratic practice:

    • No reform of any consequence should be based on a single narrow measure of quality.

    • No reform of any consequence should ignore the important role of non-educational factors, among which a nation's socio-economic inequality is paramount. In many countries, including the US, inequality has dramatically increased over the past 15 years, explaining the widening educational gap between rich and poor which education reforms, no matter how sophisticated, are unlikely to redress.

    • An organisation like OECD, as any organisation that deeply affects the life of our communities, should be open to democratic accountability by members of those communities.

    We are writing not only to point out deficits and problems. We would also like to offer constructive ideas and suggestions that may help to alleviate the above mentioned concerns. While in no way complete, they illustrate how learning could be improved without the above mentioned negative effects:

    1 Develop alternatives to league tables: explore more meaningful and less easily sensationalised ways of reporting assessment outcomes. For example, comparing developing countries, where 15-year-olds are regularly drafted into child labour, with first-world countries makes neither educational nor political sense and opens OECD up for charges of educational colonialism.

    2 Make room for participation by the full range of relevant constituents and scholarship: to date, the groups with greatest influence on what and how international learning is assessed are psychometricians, statisticians, and economists. They certainly deserve a seat at the table, but so do many other groups: parents, educators, administrators, community leaders, students, as well as scholars from disciplines like anthropology, sociology, history, philosophy, linguistics, as well as the arts and humanities. What and how we assess the education of 15-year-old students should be subject to discussions involving all these groups at local, national, and international levels.

    3 Include national and international organisations in the formulation of assessment methods and standards whose mission goes beyond the economic aspect of public education and which are concerned with the health, human development, wellbeing and happiness of students and teachers. This would include the above mentioned United Nations organisations, as well as teacher, parent, and administrator associations, to name a few.

    4 Publish the direct and indirect costs of administering Pisa so that taxpayers in member countries can gauge alternative uses of the millions of dollars spent on these tests and determine if they want to continue their participation in it.

    5 Welcome oversight by independent international monitoring teams which can observe the administration of Pisa from the conception to the execution, so that questions about test format and statistical and scoring procedures can be weighed fairly against charges of bias or unfair comparisons.

    6 Provide detailed accounts regarding the role of private, for-profit companies in the preparation, execution, and follow-up to the tri-annual Pisa assessments to avoid the appearance or reality of conflicts of interest.

    7 Slow down the testing juggernaut. To gain time to discuss the issues mentioned here at local, national, and international levels, consider skipping the next Pisa cycle. This would give time to incorporate the collective learning that will result from the suggested deliberations in a new and improved assessment model.

    We assume that OECD's Pisa experts are motivated by a sincere desire to improve education. But we fail to understand how your organisation has become the global arbiter of the means and ends of education around the world. OECD's narrow focus on standardised testing risks turning learning into drudgery and killing the joy of learning. As Pisa has led many governments into an international competition for higher test scores, OECD has assumed the power to shape education policy around the world, with no debate about the necessity or limitations of OECD's goals. We are deeply concerned that measuring a great diversity of educational traditions and cultures using a single, narrow, biased yardstick could, in the end, do irreparable harm to our schools and our students.

    Sincerely,

    Follows a weighty list of academics.
     
  6. bahn_farang

    bahn_farang Thread Starter Well-Known Member

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    I'm still on the fence regarding the benefits of the PISA tests as both sides offer convincing opinions
     
  7. portnoy58

    portnoy58 Well-Known Member

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    Personal experience as a teacher and parent is that the education system in Thailand is lousy. One of the great ironies in the context of PISA performance is the extent to which the system is so 'test centric' - I saw my four year old daughter's mid-term report card recently in which she was given a percentage grade on every subject, ( including 20% in Thai!), based on both formative and summative assessments. FFS, pile of pish!

    I don't do PISA. It's better quality pish, but pish nonetheless, and as the letter from academe makes clear these guys have no mandate to govern education but have literally appointed themselves its international arbiters. The world is not a level playing field in any sense of that term.

    Of course this doesn't get away from the essential fact of the matter: the Thai education system needs radical surgery. However the last thing it needs is to be driven by this kind of pishy performativity which is already at the root of the Thai system's failings. And for the record let's be clear, the Thai education system fails its students miserably and this won't change until educators and administrators understand that Thai students should be entitled to a quality education.
     
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  8. OxfordDon

    OxfordDon Active Member

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  9. Internationalteacher

    Internationalteacher Superwoman

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  10. OxfordDon

    OxfordDon Active Member

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    The PISA has always been methodologically flawed, but with the introduction of a global awareness factor in the next round of testing it will be entering into an ideologically driven social re-engineering phase which will create even more expensive chaos in educational policy in developing nations.

    Some amazing PISA doublethink regarding Thailand: the current PISA report criticises the Thai MoE for using multiple choice tests while at the same justifying its own use of such tests in PISA; it says that one of the reasons Thai students have low scores is that Thai teachers have too much admin, but then it goes on to recommend even more admin for those teachers.

    I hope the various academics and national policy-makers involved can get the necessary reforms into PISA to make it a much more useful exercise.

    Oh, one final thought (for the moment), if Thailand were to redouble its efforts on numeracy, literacy and science, then foreign languages (English) would very likely suffer, resulting in even less jobs for Teflers in Thailand.
     
  11. Internationalteacher

    Internationalteacher Superwoman

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    There is a close to two hour video in the first link about the PISA test scores as well as a panel of speakers afterwards. The video is called 'Every Student Ready for the World'. I just thought I'd post it up in case some of you missed it.

     
  12. sirchai

    sirchai Well-Known Member

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    It's pretty harsh to take Singapore which is more a city than a country with a population of only 5.7 million people ( 2016) and compare it with a country like Thailand.

    Finland's population is not more than the one from Bangkok city, also around 5 million and here's an interesting speech why Finland is so successful.

    You don't have to watch the whole movie, but the main points are that they treat their teachers well, pay them a very good salary, etc....

    All teachers have to have a Master's in the field they're teaching.

     
  13. DavidUSA

    DavidUSA Well-Known Member

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    This is funny stuff. So, if you merely work hard in your own country and have successful students, you are not aware enough. Adding onto the scores of Africans, students in poverty, kids from backwards or corrupt countries, that means your awareness has been enhanced.

    In other words, since some countries are hopeless, we won't play the same game anymore.


    We all need to review our Orwell so we can understand what is going on these days.


    My gracious, I am a TEFLer, but I did not even know it. After I finish my MA from Harvard I can call myself a teacher. Doubleplus good!


    They are white and the culture is homogeneous. Multi-culti adds nothing to the classroom. People do not have enough guts to say what it obviously true. Don't worry, while I am getting my MA I won't step out of character and say anything real. Reality has become thoughtcrime. For example, Australia was not discovered, it was invaded! Those evil shitz, ancestors of the builders of Australia, so heartless. I need a tissue!
     
    Last edited: 15 Jan 2017
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  14. sirchai

    sirchai Well-Known Member

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    "Thoughtcrime" and the Freedom of Speech don't really fit well.

    But there's no real freedom of speech, not even on a forum.
     
  15. Internationalteacher

    Internationalteacher Superwoman

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    They are not comparing, but talking about PISA scores and why they are as they are. At least in the video I posted. Countries on the lower end of the scale could learn a lot about education from countries like Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan.

    If Thailand wants to become a great education system so much has to be changed. If you look at the video it certainly does not say that all teachers have to have a Master's. I am no way comparing, but the PISA test does show a lot where countries are improving their education system like in Singapore having more early childhood centers, and basically putting more resources into hiring quality teachers, etc. I think it is worth a watch the video I posted. I watched the whole thing this morning.

    Thailand cannot compete globally in today's world because the hierarchical system that they have, where they don't allocate resources in the right place, and don't put a lot of money into where it should go.
     

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