Friday, July 9, 2010

If all students were 15 years old...

Joseph has an interesting link to a comparison of test scores of fifteen-year-olds in different countries. I recommend you go by and take a look. It has some interesting stuff, but what caught my eye was what wasn't there. I couldn't find a complementary break-down for any other age group.

After bad metrics, I think the worst problem in educational research may be the inappropriate aggregation of primary and secondary education. If there was ever a case where two populations should be treated separately it's here. The two systems face different problems of different severity that respond to different solutions.

I'll try to follow up with some specifics later, but in the meantime, when you hear someone making a blanket proclamation about our schools, remember that about the only meaningful statement you can make that's true about primary and secondary schools is that the teachers in both are about to get screwed.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, I had trouble finding a good cross country comparison and you will note that it was missing one of the key comparators (England) which has a similar language, difficult educational system, strong streaming of students, and is famous (although this could be costing on reputation) for strong outcomes.

    One outcome of this debate could be that the factors that determine educational outcomes are not driven by teachers. It's odd, but intense competition was an adjective for the school systems in the top three.