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Smartest Kids in the World

Smartest Kids in the World

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Smartest Kids in the World

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  1. Smartest Kids in the World EDU 600 Fall 2013

  2. What is PISA? • Programme for International Student Assessment • Created by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) • 15-year-old students are assessed in mathematics, science, and reading. • First administered in 2000 and then every three years subsequently. • Goal: to improve education policies and outcomes. • “The data has increasingly been used both to assess the impact of education quality on incomes and growth and for understanding what causes differences in achievement across nations” • The test is a hand-written 2-hour test. Part is multiple choice and part requires fuller answers • After the test, students spend and hour filling out a survey on their background. • http://www.oecd.org/pisa/

  3. Heartbreak in Poland • Effects of World War II led to oppression • Nazi party was replaced by Soviets • In 1997 the Constitution of Poland replaced and amended the communist statue • Poland joined the European Union in 2004

  4. MirisolawHandke • 1997: Poland’s government was transitioning • Handke was appointed the Minister of Education • Handke was a chemist heading AGH University • Distractions: • New government was dealing with health care and pension reform • Because the public and the government was concerned with the new reforms, Handke’s ideas were not in the spotlight.

  5. “Achieving a New Equilibrium” • Half of rural adults finished primary education • Low skill = low wage work • Handke studied education systems • In1998, the Orange Book was introduced to begin the transition phase

  6. Orange Book • Four points of the new plan: • Rigor • Accountability • Expectations • Independence

  7. Rigor • New Core Curriculum • Replace many brief topics with a few solid ones • Set goals • Government required a portion of teachers to go back to school to improve their education

  8. Accountability • Regularly scheduled standard tests • Target testing • Primary education • Meant to show what students/teachers needed help • Secondary Education • College entrance criteria

  9. Raised Expectations* • Students would extend their education by one full year, extending tracking by one year • 4,000 new junior high schools were created to accommodate for the extension of tracking vocational Ages: 5-15 16 academia

  10. Independence • Teachers would have freedom to teach how they see fit • Teachers could pick the texts they wanted from an approved list of over 100 options • Teachers can earn bonuses for participating in professional development opportunities • Principals have full authority in hiring decisions • Local communities determine budget allocation decisions

  11. The Orange Book Transition would happen in the span of a year • By the end of the first rocky year 60% of Poles surveyed did not think the reforms would work • Handke resigned in 2000 after he could not secure funds to give pay raises to teachers

  12. Results Shown by PISA 2/3 of the students who had been vocationally tracked were in the lowest literacy level in 2000 Students who would have been tracked to vocational schools scored 100 points higher in 2009 than in 2000

  13. Comparison to the U.S. 2009 • Poland was outperforming the U.S. in math and science but spending half the money • The poorest students in Poland outscored the poorest students in the U.S. in reading and math • 85% of Polish students graduated and 76% of U.S. students graduated • Over 1/3 of Polish students scored in the top two levels of literacy

  14. Tom’s Comparison • No Sports in Poland • Students dress up for a test day like it’s game day • No lunch hour • Students bring a sandwich or a small snack • Several daily smoke breaks • Students can make adult choices (even if they are bad) • School in Poland was less forgiving • Scores were announced • Many kids flat our failed exams • Tom’s school got $4,681 per student • His school at home got $11,000 per student

  15. Pending Problems • 16 and 17 year olds that took the PISA after being tracked to vocational schools scored significantly lower compared to their peers who were on an academic track • The public still does not approve the reform and many administrators are not happy with the changes • Poland is still in an educational transition but is proof that poor failing countries can turn their system around in a short amount of time

  16. Eric from MN Studies in Korea Paul Menard EDU 600 Fall 2013

  17. Eric • Attended Minnetonka High School in MN • Had already graduated from a rigorous I.B. program before heading to South Korea • Enrolled in college for the following school year: South Korea was a break and an opportunity • Accustomed to feeling like an outsider: came out to family in high school

  18. Eric’s New Korean Home • Eric traveled from MN to Busan, South Korea • Attended Nam Sam High School • He and another female exchange student from Canada were welcomed and treated like pseudo rock stars • Eric attended classes with students that were two years younger than him due to the fact that students his age were in “solitary confinement” studying for college entrance exams

  19. What Eric’s Classmates Wondered • Do you live on a farm? • Do you own a horse? • Do you own a gun? • Have you ever been shot or shot anyone?

  20. Nam Sam High School • A huge red brick building: function over fashion • No smart boards: integration of modern tech components almost non-existent in school • 30+ students in each class

  21. Student Life at Nam Sam • Student’s expressed individuality thru socks • Extremely long school days: students sleeping in class is a common occurrence • Longer school year than American schools • Highly competitive college preparation: school as a meritocracy

  22. College Preparation • Korean SAT test: determines not only what university a student attends: scarcity of prestigious universities leads to intense pressure to excel • Test is only offered once per school year • Most grades curved, all scores made public to whole school

  23. Typical School Day at Nam Sam • The “school day” typically starts at 8:00 a.m. and “ends” at 4:00 (Eric leaves at 2:00) • At the “end” of the school day, students clean entire school. Students with demerits for bad behavior get the dirty jobs • After that, students have two hours of test preparation

  24. The School Day Still Isn’t Over! • After two hours of test prep, students eat a wholesome dinner at school. • After dinner, it’s YaYa time: two hours of reviewing notes from school day and watching online test prep lectures • After YaYa, the school day is finally over

  25. Or is it? Hogwan Time • After leaving school, the overwhelming majority of students head to a Howgan, which are described in the book as private tutoring academies where “the real learning happens” • By law, Hogwans must be closed by 11:00 p.m. -Law imposed in response to students studying too much

  26. History of Education in Korea • Civil service exams have been around in Korea since the 7th Century • Since that time, test prep tutoring has been a standard for those willing and able to pay private tutors • 1950’s: vast majority of citizens were illiterate • Education as a currency: no natural resources

  27. The Pressure Cooker • No legacies • No Athletic Scholarships • Scarcity of spots available in Korean Universities

  28. Fairness in School: An American Concept • Motivation has historically been the driving force in education, not curriculum • Korean families spend more individually than American families on education support services • Private, for profit self-study libraries are very popular • Even as more Universities have opened, students continue to obsess about getting into the top 3 universities

  29. The Pressure Cooker Boils Over • In November 2011, police issued a warrant for the arrest of an eighteen year old male Korean student who murdered his mother • Ji’s mom told him that he had to be #1 on the college entrance exams no matter what • Ji explained that he murdered his mother to prevent her from attending a parent teacher conference, where she would have learned that he scored in the top 1% of students in the nation (4,000th) • The details of the story and public discourse regarding the matter are revealing to how Koreans perceive the intense pressure students face to succeed in school

  30. Ji • At the time of his arrest, Ji was a senior • In the past, Ji’s mother beat him, deprived him of food and would force him to stay up late at night to study when his grades didn’t live up to her expectations • After he killed her, he sealed her bedroom and left her dead body to rot for more than eight months • Ji’s estranged father returned for a visit and discovered her body

  31. Public Discourse Regarding Ji’s Mothers Murder • In a popular news periodical, the story was cast as a tragic “reflection of a study-driven culture driving kids mad” • Popular opinion: “She invited her own murder” • Ji sentenced to 3 ½ years in prison

  32. Lessons Learned • Rigor matters: success is a product of hard work, resilience, and a refusal to accept anything short of concept mastery. Mastering complex academic material is paramount • Don’t lose sight of the purpose of learning: • “The U.S. spends more on athletics and technology and less on teacher salaries, with little evidence of positive impact except for corporate balance sheets”

  33. Successes in Korean Education • Eric’s take on the Korean education system • “Math is rigor distilled: to master concepts, students are required to detect patterns and make informed conjectures…Routine failure is the only way to learn” • “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” –Churchill

  34. Math in Korea • Geometry: trigonometry and calculus interwoven into lessons: real-world situations • To figure out how shapes change in a video game, you need to use both. • Eric thought that math moved fluidly, and he observed sophomore Korean students understanding calculus analogies

  35. Lessons to Learn • Minnesota is one of two states to score close to Finland and Korea on PISA assessments • Common Core • U.S. math text books are too big • Six years on fractions and decimals is too long

  36. Discussion Questions Why in the U.S. is the understanding of mathematical concepts considered an innate ability and not a necessity to excel in life, while mastery of reading is not optional? How can we apply the lessons learned from the successes and failures of the Korean education system as urban teachers?

  37. Additional Thoughts • Math is a language • Incorporating the language and concepts of math into every class you teach • Collaborating with math teachers to incorporate mathematical concepts and language into lesson planning

  38. Kim’s Story • Kim was going to high school in Sallisaw, Oklahoma • She was always good at school, but was beginning to get bored and discouraged, thus her grades were suffering and she was losing her drive and motivation for it • She knew that she wanted to get out of Sallisaw and that would help

  39. Before Finland • When Kim started to lose her motivation for school, her mom, who was an elementary school teacher in town, became concerned but credited it to the fact that she was a teenager and it was common teenage behavior • In seventh grade, Kim’s English teacher invited her to take the SAT. Kim’s standardized test scores qualified her to take the test at age 12 and see where she compared to other students in the country • Although the test was challenging, Kim managed to score better than 40% of the graduating seniors in the Critical Reading portion of the test • Her response when she heard about the scores: • “I’m very disappointed in my state right now”

  40. Before Finland • Kim was beginning to get extremely bored with school and wanted something different. Due to a recent divorce between her parents and tight finances, many options such as private schools or boarding schools were out of the question due to high tuition rates. • Kim’s sister mentioned that she should look into studying abroad. Although it was not at all what Kim was thinking when she said that she wanted to get out of Sallisaw, Kim looked into it and brought it up with her mom.

  41. Before Finland • After some studying and research, Kim presented her mom with a paper on Finland and why she wanted to study there for a year. Her mom agreed and said that if Kim was able to raise the $10,000 to go there, she was allowed to go. • After fundraising, getting donations, and selling some of her belongings, Kim was accepted and going to be spending the next school year as an exchange student in Finland.

  42. Kim’s Experience • Kim was going to be living with her host mother Suzanne, who was a single mom of twin 5 year olds. Although she loved Suzanne, the kids did not appreciate Kim staying in their house which did create problems for Kim during her time there. • During the school day, the sun would not rise until after she was already in school and was down by the time she was done with school. Kim was not used to this and eventually became diagnosed with depression during her time over there, partially due to the lack of sunlight she was experiencing

  43. Kim’s Experience • Suzanne had finally told Kim that she had to go see a doctor because of her change in behavior. This was a scare for Kim because the program would have to decide if she was able to stay or would have to be sent home early. • Ultimately, they allowed her to stay, however she was going to be relocated to a different home because of the problems she was having with Suzanne’s kids. • Luckily, she was able to stay in good contact with Suzanne and even volunteered at the newspaper that Suzanne worked at

  44. Schools in Finland • Kim was shocked in many ways by the schools in Finland; they were very different than her experiences back in the United States. • She was surprised that the school building itself was pretty much the same as her high school in Oklahoma. She actually said that from the outside that it was even more depressing than her school back home. • On the inside, there were trophies on display like we might see in schools in the US, but very few and the newest one was 10 years old

  45. Schools in Finland • One big difference that Kim noted was that there were no white boards or other high tech devices that U.S. schools cannot live without • There were also no police officers in the building • There were the “Stoner Kids” as Kim put it- the kids who were quiet in class but would be talkative outside when they were smoking with their friends. However, unlike the US where those kids are usually struggling in school, these kids were actually model students who obtained great grades

  46. Schools in Finland • Becoming a teacher in Finland is very different than becoming a teacher in the US. It is a very prestigious job that has the mindset of becoming a doctor in the US. You must have high enough test scores, it is a six year program, and every teacher MUST have a masters degree. • Getting into a teaching school in Finland is equivalent to a student trying to get into Georgetown, Berkeley, or MIT here • Training included a whole year of student teaching and a 200 page thesis before graduating • Page 89: “The Finns decided that the only way to get serious about Education was to select highly educated teachers, the best and brightest of each generation, and train them rigorously.”

  47. Schools in Finland • Finland did have a No-Child-Left-Behind type method in their schools, however, due to their highly selective teacher training, Finland found that what they had in place was unnecessary and more of a burden to the schools, so they were able to get rid of it • In 2000, all of Finland’s new teachers graduated high school in the top third of their graduating class. • Although teachers in Finland do make more than teachers here, there is no correlation between high salaries and student success • Page 94: “The world’s highest paid teachers lived in Spain, where teenagers performed worse in math, reading, and science than students in the United States.”

  48. Schools in Finland • One day when Kim was talking to a group of students, she asked them why they cared so much and what motivated them to be so successful in school: • “It’s school… How else will I graduate and go to university and get a good job?” Students in Finland had much more freedom- they were able to have free time in which they were allowed to hang out in commons areas, go to a coffee shop (even during school hours), and parents were a lot less concerned about rules, etc.

  49. Schools in Finland • Parents are a lot less involved with schooling as they are here- it is the kids responsibility, therefor it should not include the parents • There is a test that could be comparable to our ACT or SAT tests in the US, however, it is much longer, more vigorous, and caused the students a lot of stress that concerned teachers. • The test took 3 weeks to take, 50 hours. Teachers need to follow students to the bathroom to ensure that there is no cheating. The Finnish section itself took 2 days, one day of reading texts and writing short essays for each one, one day for writing a long essay on a topic provided that took all 6 hours to compose

  50. School in Sallisaw • When comparing her experience in her Finnish high schools to her high school in the United States, Kim was shocked • The superintendent in Kim’s school district made $100,000 a year, making him one of the highest paying people in Sallisaw • He also has an assistant superintendent and 8 managers serving on a school board- all for a school district that served 4 schools • When he was asked what the biggest challenges that schools in Sallisaw faced, the superintendent said that it was lack of parent involvement