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UK schools fall in Global ranking

(29 Posts)
mumzy Wed 08-Dec-10 18:14:54

Just read this on BBC website: gist of it is "In maths, between 2000 and 2009 the UK has fallen from 8th to 28th and in science from 4th to 16th" . So what the politicians have said about standards in UK schools rising year on year does not correlate with this report. It has confirmed my belief that teaching in schools has significantly been dumb down and the most able children are not sufficiently challenged in the name of equality for all.

GrimmaTheNome Wed 08-Dec-10 18:18:56

Possibly. The alternative interpretation is that the standards in the countries which have outstripped us have risen faster.

I suspect its a combination of both factors, but that data doesn't prove an absolute fall. (I did stats before it was dumbed down grin)

emy72 Thu 09-Dec-10 08:56:13

Not a surprise to me in terms of maths.

I was shocked at how basic the NC maths is. My DD's peers in Italy are at least 2 years ahead in what they cover (and DD is in the top set).

I get the impression that literacy is very much the emphasis in KS1 - not sure about KS2 though.

Sakura Thu 09-Dec-10 09:29:16

That's what I was just going to say Grimma.
The Japanese are hand-wringing as well because according to the news here, standards are falling in Japan too.
IT's probably more that standards are rising faster in previously less-developed countries

Appletrees Thu 09-Dec-10 09:30:43

It's not just an issue of relative rates, it's an issue of absolute achievement.

Appletrees Thu 09-Dec-10 09:32:23

And considering the amount of money spent by the last government on education, I think one can consider it comprehensively pissed away to the glory of apparent acheivement rather than absolute progression.

senua Thu 09-Dec-10 09:42:42

Yes it's both, appletrees.
There are often stories of topics in Maths that used to be O Level material but are now not tackled until A Level. Also, there must be something wrong if half the entrants to A Level Maths get an A Grade.

Appletrees Thu 09-Dec-10 09:46:52

I agree. I think it's marvellous that some previously A level subjects are started at primary, like probability and sequences. ut the cost is too high, basics aren't mastered, and too many allowances are made.

ChazsBrilliantAttitude Thu 09-Dec-10 09:58:44

I struggle to understand how we can be falling in the world rankings at a time when grades are increasing year on year.

It makes me really angry. I am lucky enough to be able to afford the private route for my kids if I am not happy with the state provision. I know others who are in a position where they can HE.

Every child in this country has a right to a good education and my mind boggles at the shiny new academies near us in Central London that get just over one third of children through 5 GCSE's A-C. I refuse to believe that is a realistic measure of the capabilities of the intake and I suspect the number should be at least double what it is.

The education system is letting our kids down and so it is letting us all down in the long run. I went through the state system and was the first in my family to go to Uni but I don't see education as an engine for social mobility if it carries on the way it is.
<<rant breathe...>>

stoatsrevenge Thu 09-Dec-10 18:55:30

Appletrees, you sound obsessed by probability and sequencing and obviously have no idea whatsoever of what goes on in schools.

JeffVadar Thu 09-Dec-10 19:20:31

Agree totally with Chaz. GCSEs have been dumbed down to such an extent that many independent schools no longer do them, doing the IGCE instead. Same with A-levels too.

IMO state school pupils get a second rate education, and I am so glad we can afford private for DS.

Appletrees Thu 09-Dec-10 20:19:55

Why obsessed? Stalking me?

Actually just trying to find something positive to say about primary maths Nc. There isn't a lot to work on so I mentioned it here as well ws another thread. I didn't want to be that negative. Why do you have to make things personal, stoat?What is your problem?

stoatsrevenge Thu 09-Dec-10 20:41:47

But all you've mentioned on each thread is the lack of probability and sequencing! Do you know what is taught in primary school maths, Appletrees? Do you know how often we do maths? Do you know the expectations in Y2 and Y6?

As I said before on the other thread, the OECD report is questionable in content, and I still wonder how they choose the 5000 children per country (accounting for 0.07% of the 15-16 year old school population). The sample size is so small, I wonder if realistic comparisons about maths' standards can be made.

Appletrees Thu 09-Dec-10 22:56:43

The lack of it? Don't understand you now.

Why don't you write to the oecd and tell them their methodologies can't possibly be right and can they stop telling everyone about their global analyses.

Sakura Thu 09-Dec-10 23:02:07

Oh, is it the OECD ??
Read Daniel DOrling's "Injustice"
He's one of the few people who has bothered to analyze the findings of the OECD.
Firstly, the OECD are a bunch of economists who do not have the interests of children in mind.
IT's very VERY interesting to see that they structure the tests to get the results they want.
IN other words the tests themselves are designed and determined to reveal a bell-curve in child's ability.
This is done in order to justify a class-system which (by amazing coincidence!) justifies the economic structure of post-industrial capitalist societies

It has fuck-all with children's actual abilities. You have to read it, it's a real eye-opener on how economists try to slot children into groups: Group 1: can ask any price they like for their work Group 2: can ask enough for a mortgate and some holidays Group C: can manage on the check-out of Mcdonalds, Group D: are just too incompetend for work at all

More than 10 years at school, more literate than their grandfathers ever were, and yet too incompetent for work at all??? Very hard to believe.

Sakura Thu 09-Dec-10 23:04:48

IN other words, the OECD methodologies are fundamentally biased, the tests are designed to be biased: designed to reveal the results they want before the kids even have the exam paper in front of them.

All in order to pretend that the status quo, the horrible inequalities and eltisim, is "natural"

stoatsrevenge Thu 09-Dec-10 23:08:28

ok - sorry - you said probability and sequencing is started at primary. Why pick on that? What's the relevance?

I think this OECD data needs questionning because the sample size is so low, and we need to ask if the content is trustworthy across cultures. I couldn't find any description of the way the sample is chosen, and I did find some negative reviews of the test on the internet.

I wonder if you know anything about current maths teaching, or whether your damning comments are just a reaction to media reports.

Appletrees Fri 10-Dec-10 00:19:34

The relevance is that it's a major and helpful change in maths teaching. But my point is that they are virtually useless without mastery of the basics. If you start teaching fractions, algebra, word problems, sequencing, probability, without requiring.g that the basics are mastered, you are giving children problems. it's obvious.

Appletrees Fri 10-Dec-10 00:20:58

Why would you think that? I had to tutor my children. Yes, I know what they need to know and when they need to know it according to the Nc.

stoatsrevenge Fri 10-Dec-10 18:09:46

Interesting sakura. Link please?

Sakura Sat 11-Dec-10 07:11:54

will quote page 44:

"[The OECD] way of thinking sees money as bringing dignity, sees children as being of greatly varying abilities and sees its own educational testers as knowing all the correct answers to its battery of questions for which there is clearly no international agreement over the correct answers.

It is not hard to devise a set of questions and a marking scheme that results in those you test appearing to be distributed along a bell curve. BUt to do this you have to construct the world as being like this in your mind. It is not revealed as such by observation."

"What observation reveals is that ever since we have been trying to measure "intelligence" we have found it has been rising dramatically. This means that the average child in 1900 measure by today's standards would appear to be an imbecile, 'mentally retarded' (the term used in the past) , a 'virtual automaton' .When we measure our intelligence in this way it appears so much greater than our parents' that you would think they would have marvelled at how clever their children were (but they didn't)"

He then has an entire section on Graphs that arouse suspicion in which he analyses the methodologies of the OECD exams

"Almost identical curves could be drawn for different countries if human ability were greatly limited, such as those curves shown in Figure 2. This figure is drawn from the key findings of the 2007 OECD report, which includes six graphs. None of those graphs show a single bell curve. Figure 2 reveals how the OECD economists think ability is distributed among its member countries, and in three particular places. It is possible that the OECD economists were themselves reluctant to draw the graph because they knew it would rightly arouse suspicion. However, it is far from easy to guess at the motive. What it is possible, if extremely tedious, to do is to read the technical manual and find hidden, after 144 pages of equations and procedures, the fact that those releasing this data, when calibrating the scores (adjusting the scores before release) ,... "assumed that students have been sampled from a multivariative normal distribution." Given this assumption, almost no matter how the students had 'performed' , the curves in Figure 2 would have been bell-shaped. The data were made to fit the curve."
(Dorling, Injustice, pp 47)

stoatsrevenge Sat 11-Dec-10 12:31:28

Very interesting!
Did it say anything about how they selected the sample?

Sakura Sat 11-Dec-10 13:13:42

I assume the graphs are representative of all the children who sat the exam (i.e OECD country members' children).

The graph (Figure 2) is entitled

"Distribution of children according to ability , according to the OECD, 2006 (%)"

It then has 4 categories : World; Netherlands; U.K; U.S

A bell-curve is depicted in each category, representing the following distribution:

[remember, we're talking about children's ability here]


After 10 years at school, some children have no hmm ability, some have Limited, some Barely, some Simple. ANd always, always a tiny miniscule of children (4%) have genius ability.

The graphs do not represent actual children; the represent the structure of a post-industrial, classist, elitist capitalist society. They are supposed to reflect and justify the status quo.

Sakura Sat 11-Dec-10 13:17:21

Source: Data given in OECD (2007) The programme for INternational Student Asessment (PISA) , OECD'S latest PISA study of learning skills among 15-year-olds

mrz Sat 11-Dec-10 16:31:43

The Educational Ode of the OECD

Monday's child has limited knowledge
Tuesday's child won't go to college
Wednesday's child is a simple soul
Thursday's child has far to go
Friday's child can reflect on her actions
Saturday's child integrates explanations
But the child that is born on the Sabbath day
Has critical insight and gets the most say

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