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Strong Performers and Successful Reformers in Education Lessons from Pisa 2012 for the United States (Anglais) Broché – Grands caractères, 9 mai 2014

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This report compares the performance of 15-year-olds in the United States in Pisa against the global patterns and trends. But it goes beyond the aggregate level analysis that have so far been published in the Pisa 2012 reports, to give analysis of student performance on individual mathematics test items in order to reveal students' strengths and weaknesses. Considering this also in the context of the relationship between Pisa and the Common Core Standards for Mathematics can help connect these results to what the United States aspires to teach in classrooms and help inform teaching practices that can support performance improvement.

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5.0 étoiles sur 5 Insightful and Invalualable - 21 septembre 2014
Par Loyd Eskildson - Publié sur
People compete for jobs not just locally, but internationally in today's globalized world. Job automation is proceeding at an even faster rate - routine work is increasingly likely to be automated. The obvious effects are to reduce demand for those only capable of routine work.

The U.S. gained an advantage after WWII due to not having incurred damage to its production facilities and massively increasing education through the G.I. Bill and other initiatives. Those advantages have now been largely eroded. Only 8 of the 34 OECD countries now have a lower high-school graduation rate than the U.S - about 75%. Germany and Japan now graduate over 95% of youngsters, 94% in South Korea, while other nations have moved up in rank order position. The U.S. has also slipped from #2 to #13 in college graduation rates from 1995 to 2008, not because graduation rates have declined but because they rose much faster elsewhere.

Other nations have also dramatically improved the quality of learning outcomes. For example, Korea doubled the share of pupils demonstrating excellency in reading, Poland has raised overall performance by the equivalent of more than half a school year, and Brazil, Chile, Indonesia, Singapore and Peru have also made impressive gains.

U.S. performance on the 2009 PISA assessment of 15-year-olds was about average in reading (#14) and science (#17), and below average in math (#25) among the 34 OECD nations. There is significant variability within the U.S. - schools in the northeast perform better than the OECD average (comparable with the Netherlands), but still well below the highest-performers, followed by the Midwest (comparable with Poland), the west (comparable with Italy), and the south (comparable with Greece). Performance varies even more between schools and social contexts - in fact, the relationship between socio-economic background and learning outcomes is stronger in the U.S. than high-performing systems. The U.S. has seen significant performance gains in science sine 2006 - mainly driven by improvements at the bottom, while performance was unchanged at the top end. Performance in reading and mathematics has remained broadly unchanged since 2000 and 2003, respectively, when PISA began to measure these trends.

Reading performance of U.S. pupils w/o an immigrant background is only marginally higher than the performance of all students, and the gap is smaller in the U.S. than the average across OECD nations.

Only 6% of the variation between OECD countries' mean scores can be predicted on the basis of their GDP/capita. Only Luxembourg spends more/student. Across OECD countries, this explains 9% of the variation in PISA mean performance between countries. Moderate spending/student does not equate with poor performance - Estonia and Poland pupils perform at the same level as Norway and the U.S. - despite spending only 40% as much. New Zealand spends well below the average/pupil - yet is one of the high-performing in reading. The U.S., however, is one of only three OECD nations in which socio-economically disadvantaged schools cope with less favorable student-teacher ratios than their socio-economically advantaged counterparts. U.S. high school teachers teach far more hours, but with smaller class sizes. Japan and Korea pay teachers comparatively well and provide ample time for work besides teaching in front of classes, and pay for the costs with comparatively large class sizes. The U.S. also spends 11.6% of its resources for schools on capital outlays, exceeded only in the Netherlands, Norway and Luxembourg (OECD average 7.6%). Another comparison - the percentage of parents of 15-year-olds assessed in PISA with secondary or tertiary education ranks the U.S. 8th among the 34 OECD nations.

The U.S. proportion of socio-economically disadvantaged children above the OECD average, and it has the 6th largest proportion (19.5%) of pupils with an immigrant background. However, the share of such pupils explains just 3% of performance variation between nations, and of the 8 OECD nations with between 15% and 30% of pupils with an immigrant background, four show a smaller performance gap while three show a larger one.

Eighteen per cent of U.S. 15-year-olds do not reach PISA baseline Level 2 reading proficiency, about the OECD average and unchanged since 2000. excluding pupils with an immigrant background reduces the percentage of poorly performing pupils to 16%, while in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Canada, Finland and Korea the proportion of poor performers is 10% or less. At the other end, U.S. students do comparatively well at the very highest levels of reading proficiency (1.5%, vs. 0.8% OECD average and 1.8 to 2.9% for Australia, Canada, Finland, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, Shanghai) have an average share of top performers in science 1% at the top - the OECD average, with 4.6% in Singapore, 3.9% in Shanhai, 3.6% in New Zealand, 3.1% in Finland, and 3% in Australia), and a below-average share of top performers (2%, vs. an OECD average of 3% and as high as 27% in Shanghai) in mathematics.

About 28% of U.S. pupils can be considered resilient - coming from the 25% of the most socio-economically disadvantaged students but performing much better than would be predicted, about average for the OECD; however, in Korea, Hong Kong and Shanghai the proportion is about twice as high.

Fifteen-year-olds in the U.S. usually rate themselves comparatively high in academic performance on PISA, even if they do not do well comparatively. One interpretation is that they are being commended for work that would not be acceptable in high-performing education systems.

Teachers in mainland China do not receive high salaries, but often have other significant income eg. from private tutorials, sponsoring fees collected from students from other neighborhoods or whose test scores are below the official admissions cut-off. The national class-size norm is 50, but not unusual to see classes of over 80 in rural areas. In many cases, teachers are observed by the school principal or district education officers when being considered for promotions or awards. Teachers may observe each other or observed by peers (eg. in the instance of curriculum change), new teachers, senior teachers and the principal(mentoring), and sometimes expected to teach demonstration lessons for large numbers to observe and comment on. Promotions from one grade to another often requires giving demonstration lessons, contributions to induction of new teachers, publications about education, etc.

Over 80% of Shanghai's higher education age cohort are admitted into higher education, compared to the national 24% figure. Non-attentive students are not tolerated. It is estimated that over 80% of parents send their children to tutorial school, most are for-profit. Students also take an hour/day of P.E., turns in cleaning classrooms and corridors, and organized to visit rural villages or deprived social groups. Every teacher is expected to complete 240 hours of professional development within five years. Teacher performances are evaluated by observation that includes the time given to student participation and how well student activities are organized. Teachers do not mind imitating others' good practices.

Low-performing schools are paired with high-performing schools, sometimes even administered by the high-performing school principal. Another practice - rotating teachers between weak and strong schools, adding funding to the low-performing schools.
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