OECD Study puts England at bottom for Maths and Literacy

(252 Posts)
missinglalaland Tue 08-Oct-13 13:19:51

A major study by the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development puts England's 16 to 24 year olds at 22nd for Literacy and 21st for Numeracy out of 24 developed countries. Ouch!

What can we do to fix this? More money? Less permissiveness? Sorting by ability? Different teacher training? Longer school years? Different methods?

rabbitstew Thu 17-Oct-13 19:26:26

ps Unless your grandparent couldn't read numbers, they could have looked through an 8X table provided by the school to see whether their child was chanting out the right numbers when they practised at home, and could have tested them by asking them tables out of order (using the print out to help them if they didn't know their own times tables), and could have sat them down and timed their children when they did speed tables tests - it's not as if they would have had to mark the homework.

Kenlee Fri 18-Oct-13 00:37:53

I think the most important thing schools should provide for children is primarily academia. Children who are of leaving age should be able to read and write and be articulate enough to communicate their ideas to others

Some say cooking is a waste of time. I say at least it gives the oppurtunity for kids to know that food does not come out of a box and that there are alternative methods of cooking rather than the microwave.

I also think that schools should concentrate on sports so kids can learn team work and actually exercise. If you dont force them at school to sweat they may not get any exercise at all. Playing FiFa on the Xbox is not exercise.

Ethics and general manners should be taught and I know this is controversial but Religious study too.

Dont forget not all kids are academic. but not all kids have decent well to do parents

A lot of what is said above sounds like a counsel of despair. However, these surveys are interesting:

TIMMS survey (England 10th in maths for Y9 pupils

PIRLS survey (England 11th in reading for Y9 pupils

These results will apply to children only just coming up to 16. It suggests that over the last decade the English education system has been improving.

anitasmall Sat 19-Oct-13 16:24:10

I checked the Timss website and it compares countries based on few data:

™ 1: Are primary schools providing a solid foundation in core subjects—
reading, mathematics, and science? (this question is relevant)
The survey also deals with other issues that has nothing to do to academia:
™2: How does reading ability impact mathematics and science achievement? 3: What are the characteristics of effective schools in reading, mathematics, and science? 4: How do homes support literacy and numeracy.

Fiona2011231 Tue 03-Dec-13 15:34:09

I am very interested in this topic. I am very worried that UK students seem to be rather bad compared with other countries.

However, today a friend of mine, who is originally from China, claims that while she is proud of this result as a Chinese person, she still thinks in the end, UK students would be better than Chinese students once they become adults. Her 'theory' is that somehow UK students are more creative, independent and so they will be more successful than Chinese counterparts in real life.

Do you think it is true, or is it just a myth that we British are still 'the best'?

Talkinpeace Tue 03-Dec-13 16:50:12

well if China had allowed their results for anywhere outside Shanghai to be published it might be a comparison

so lets see how schools in NW1 did as a comparison shall we?

and yes, rote learning is great for the PISA test

- where the questions are different in every country
- student selection is different in every country
- the number of questions answered varies
- not all students answered all questions
- India chose not to take part this year (with 1/7 of the world population)

but the ideas are not coming out of the far east - the brute strength is, but not the ideas

monet3 Tue 03-Dec-13 17:26:32

All children should have to stay in school until 18.
We should abolish options at 14 and 16 and continue with all subjects up to 18, children could still specialize but keep the other subjects at a lesser level, not drop them altogether.
There should be summer schools for children that need to improve.
After school or lunch time catch up sessions if a child misses a lesson.
Parents should be taught how to teach/help their child at home.
The media needs to stop promoting acting thick/stupid as being cool.

Talkinpeace Tue 03-Dec-13 17:45:04

monet
All children should have to stay in school until 18
Already the law
We should abolish options at 14 and 16 and continue with all subjects up to 18, children could still specialize but keep the other subjects at a lesser level, not drop them altogether.
Why? What would that achieve?
There should be summer schools for children that need to improve.
There have been for over 20 years
After school or lunch time catch up sessions if a child misses a lesson.
Standard practice for the last 20 years
Parents should be taught how to teach/help their child at home.
Sadly Gove cut the funding for Sure Start which did exactly that
The media needs to stop promoting acting thick/stupid as being cool.
the reputable media does not. Its up to parents to ensure their kids do not see crap

ErrolTheDragon Tue 03-Dec-13 17:54:41

>continue with all subjects up to 18
That's a terrible idea. Continue with maths/English maybe but inflicting subjects that a teen either hates or just doesn't have an aptitude for would be a huge waste of time and a big demotivator for many.

monet3 Tue 03-Dec-13 17:57:43

The IB continues all subjects until 18.

monet3 Tue 03-Dec-13 18:02:11

I dont agree with anything you have said Talking.

Children can leave school at 16.
There are summer schools but only if you pay.
Children should not stop languages, History, geog, science, maths oe English at 16....its too young.
Catch up sessions are not the norm at every school.
Its not just the parents job to stop the children seeing crap....its everywhere how can we police it. It is the medias responsibility too.

ErrolTheDragon Tue 03-Dec-13 18:03:24

>The IB continues all subjects until 18.
What do you define as 'all subjects'?

ErrolTheDragon Tue 03-Dec-13 18:10:11

One size doesn't fit all, monet. Your prescription wouldn't fit a kid who's itching to get on with an apprenticeship, or go to e.g. an agricultural college to learn various more practical skills. It wouldn't fit kids who adore science and electronics but really don't get on with languages - and vice-versa.

monet3 Tue 03-Dec-13 18:14:57

Children are children until they are 18, they can still do apprenticeships at 18 rather than 16.
I agree that some children dont enjoy certain subjects but an extra 2 years would give them a better understanding of them at least. There are no jobs for 16 year olds so they may as well stay on at school.

The whole education system is outdated, it was designed for a different age. The bottom line is it needs updating

Talkinpeace Tue 03-Dec-13 18:15:10

Monet3
I dont agree with anything you have said Talking
Fine, how about what the Government says
https://www.gov.uk/know-when-you-can-leave-school
or what the IB people say about the 6 subjects it includes
www.ibo.org/diploma/
and you are very ill informed about your other points as well.

monet3 Tue 03-Dec-13 18:37:58

You’ll have to stay in some form of education or training until you turn 18, if you started year 11 in September 2013 or later.

I said they should stay AT SCHOOL I know the new rules.

The six subjects are:

a first language (your child’s mother tongue)
a second language
experimental sciences (biology, chemistry, physics, design technology)
mathematics and computer science
the arts (visual, theatre and music)
individuals and society (history, psychology, geography)

So basically all academic subjects.

Why am I misinformed ?

ErrolTheDragon Tue 03-Dec-13 18:47:07

Well, fortunately the government doesn't agree with that prescription. Send your kids somewhere that does the IB if that's what suits their talents but for goodness sakes don't try to impose it on everyone.

monet3 Tue 03-Dec-13 18:50:42

That is why we are behind in the world ranking, most other countries do a similar system to the IB.LOL

mathanxiety Tue 03-Dec-13 19:20:06

I agree with Monet.

I think Bonsoir also made the point upthread that the A level system allows students to drop too many subjects at 16, leading to a university population where knowledge areas are very cut off from each other, and cross fertilisation of ideas is hard to come by.

Apart altogether from the effect of this unwarranted early specialisation on PISA testing, the effects on career prospects of graduates who haven't done maths or science, or who haven't done serious, structured writing since age 16 can be very negative.

DD1 graduated from a leading US university and along the way did biology, chemistry and physics, Persian, French to the point of fluency in speaking and writing, calc 3, English Lit, fine arts, and on top of that her major, economics. DS, whose degree will be in biology, has a similar profile of courses, and DD2 is embarking on her own university career with two years of core courses to master in a variety of areas. No such thing as dropping maths or science or history or foreign languages for US students who want to go to university, and while there is certainly a huge disparity between top and bottom in US education, the top is very good indeed, and versatile, and able to make connections between different bodies of knowledge.

Interesting to see Ireland doing pretty well again on the PISA scores. especially reading. The Leaving Cert offers a broad curriculum and iirc three different areas of focus so that those interested in more vocational courses afterwards, or apprenticeships, can be served, while those who fall into the category of educationally at risk can also be served with a curriculum that focuses on their needs while raising their expectations and suggesting to them that education is useful and potentially rewarding, not an arena where they are set up to fail, which used to be the case for the lowest achieving group.

I think the biggest stumbling block in British education is the class system and its effect on what is available, school wise, for British children and the insidious effect on aspiration that the existence of such a wide range of schools and standards has. (Same goes for the US.) People who are used to the existence of vastly different opportunities and educational environments because they are living in it day in and day out all their lives don't see it for the monstrosity that it is.

mathanxiety Tue 03-Dec-13 19:27:05

Irish Leaving Certificate description (wiki).

To those students who can't stand any or large parts of what is available -- suck it up.

Talkinpeace Tue 03-Dec-13 22:14:45

Where in the PISA test does it test English writing and creative composition, history, geography, languages, art, music, drama ?

As a pro science person I'm glad they measure science
but as students in different countries are set different questions the statistical validity of the whole thing is pretty suspect

Talkinpeace Tue 03-Dec-13 22:15:40

And please tell me why its essential for plumbers, carpenters, mechanics, hairdressers, bricklayers and bin men to be qualified to A level in a foreign language?

jonicomelately Tue 03-Dec-13 22:18:26

All the jobs you've listed are traditionally performed by the working-classes. Why the hell should they not be pushed to attain an A level in a foreign language?

Talkinpeace Tue 03-Dec-13 22:22:03

so should middle class academic kids be forced to do courses in bricklaying, oil changes and fitting a radiator?

or is it just the working class who should be forced to waste their time on stuff they will never use?

jonicomelately Tue 03-Dec-13 22:25:28

How do you know they'll never use them confused You make a lot of assumptions about working-class people. Believe it or not, some of them would like to work abroad or be able to communicate when they go on holiday to Spain or France. I find your attitude absolutely disgusting. No wonder working-class kids are fucked in the UK with attitudes like this.

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