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(Yahoo)   US 8th-grader's math skills have declined nearly twenty-eleven percent when compared to those of many of our global competitors   (news.yahoo.com) divider line 39
    More: Sad, National Center for Education Statistics, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, abstract concepts, International Association of Educators, graders, ripple effect, advanced degree, Jeb Bush  
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2961 clicks; posted to Main » on 12 Dec 2012 at 2:36 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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Archived thread
2012-12-12 02:45:12 PM
3 votes:

timujin: TheBeastOfYuccaFlats: timujin: Perhaps because instead of focusing on "skills" the modern education system focuses on passing standardized tests.

We always complain about test scores of Americans vs, in particular, east asians (but also, in some ways, south asians), but...

Here's the thing, at least in my experience, while many high performing east and south asian students can kick your ass in mechanical / rote recollection and application, there is a seeming lack of teaching folks how to do non-linear problem solving in their educational institutions. So, if you run into a problem that isn't a "yellow + blue = green" situation, usually North American and Western European students will start to show the areas they excel within.

It's similar to the problem I saw expressed by the Editor-in-Chief from Yen Press in that the submissions from new artists for comic series from Japanese and Korean amateurs have top notch visual artwork, but the stories are usually pretty linear and by-the-numbers, while the North American submissions often don't reach those same lofty visual heights, but the stories tend to be more often less straight-forward or formulaic affairs.

The word needs both kinds of people, of course.

Absolutely true, But that doesn't really address the fact that as our student's abilities have been steadily decreasing over the last couple of decades, our engineering and scientific workforce has declined as well. People talk about unemployment problems, but there are a ton of jobs out there that can't be filled because we don't have enough qualified candidates in those disciplines. Being able to create less formulaic stories has left us with more unemployed hipsters and fewer PhD's.


Qualified scientists & engineers get paid poorly. Companies would rather hire a college grad than someone with 25 years experience in the field. If you're over 50, good luck finding any engineering/science jobs at all.

There's less of a shortage and more of a 'don't wanna pay' surplus.
2012-12-12 04:42:07 PM
2 votes:

timujin: And this is laughably false. The US churns out Ph.D.s like crazy. I know, I'm one of them. In the biomedical sciences alone, 7000 Ph.D.s are minted in the US every year yet there are a grand total of 20000 tenured biomed faculty positions. We could replenish the tenured faculty every three years.


A very large percentage of them are foreign students. I have a relative who actual interviews graduate candidates for a health science research facility and for two years in a row they did not take on any American students but they simply were not the best qualified.

Go to any large university and look at the students majoring in the hard science, engineering and medicine degrees. A large chunk of them are foreign students. Then look at those majoring in Psychology , Gender studies, communications, etc. Not too many foreign kid's parents wasting their money on that B.S.

The only plus side is that a lot of these foreign kids find a way to stay in the US to put their education to use.
2012-12-12 03:01:28 PM
2 votes:

Rent Party: American students do as well as anyone on the planet, right up to about 8th grade, where they fall off a cliff.

This indicates to me that our educational problems are not systemic to the educational system, but systemic to the culture. When kids hit that age, they become much more socially aware and subject to the "it's cool to be dumb" pop-culture we now live in.


Oh, now you are just being logical. Stop that.

Consider too that many middle and high school teachers do not have degrees in mathematic, but have only taken a course in teaching mathematics. Now combine your idea with this one and add that so many of these kids parents have the flawed "I never used algebra after high school, so it's a waste of time" mentality and you've pretty much nailed the causes.
2012-12-12 01:51:40 PM
2 votes:

timujin: Perhaps because instead of focusing on "skills" the modern education system focuses on passing standardized tests.


We always complain about test scores of Americans vs, in particular, east asians (but also, in some ways, south asians), but...

Here's the thing, at least in my experience, while many high performing east and south asian students can kick your ass in mechanical / rote recollection and application, there is a seeming lack of teaching folks how to do non-linear problem solving in their educational institutions. So, if you run into a problem that isn't a "yellow + blue = green" situation, usually North American and Western European students will start to show the areas they excel within.

It's similar to the problem I saw expressed by the Editor-in-Chief from Yen Press in that the submissions from new artists for comic series from Japanese and Korean amateurs have top notch visual artwork, but the stories are usually pretty linear and by-the-numbers, while the North American submissions often don't reach those same lofty visual heights, but the stories tend to be more often less straight-forward or formulaic affairs.

The word needs both kinds of people, of course.
2012-12-12 01:49:34 PM
2 votes:
American students do as well as anyone on the planet, right up to about 8th grade, where they fall off a cliff.

This indicates to me that our educational problems are not systemic to the educational system, but systemic to the culture. When kids hit that age, they become much more socially aware and subject to the "it's cool to be dumb" pop-culture we now live in.
2012-12-12 01:30:53 PM
2 votes:

thomps: timujin: Perhaps because instead of focusing on "skills" the modern education system focuses on passing standardized tests.

then why didn't we do better on this standardized test?


Kind of my point. They focus so much on passing one particular test, rather than learning simply how arithmetic and mathematics work, that when presented with anything other than that test students perform poorly.
2012-12-12 01:16:58 PM
2 votes:

thomps: has america ever been first in these studies? the media makes a big deal out of our slipping advantage in educated kids, but i feel like i've been hearing that same story my entire life.


From about the time this went up:
www.vibrationdata.com

to the time we did this:

static.ddmcdn.com

There was a massive concerted and antional effort to improve Math and science skills in this country and train more scientists and engineers since it was consiered a matter of national security. After that? Not so much.
2012-12-12 01:09:26 PM
2 votes:
Lberal media conveniently left out the part about how we've jumped from 50th to 2nd in Creationism Science. Look out, Saudi Arabia! We're gaining on you!
2012-12-12 12:37:16 PM
2 votes:
twenty-eleven percent

Uhhh....That's the joke, right?
2012-12-12 06:42:53 PM
1 votes:
If we put God back in the schools, we wouldn't be having all these problems now.
2012-12-12 06:09:17 PM
1 votes:

SweetDickens:
Oh yea....try starting school when you are 7 years of age instead of you know......2 years old.


This is simply a result of the outrageous cost of child care in America. Parents are basically paying a second mortgage for the privileged of working.

Finland has child care set up as a municipal service, so parents can afford to keep their kids home longer.

Damn socialists.
2012-12-12 05:35:51 PM
1 votes:
Sounds like an anti-US study, such as PISA, where it forgets to account for admission criteria. Unlike other systems, the US takes nearly everyone; other systems determine your lifetime maximum level of education from a single number at a single point in time. Fix that, and the US won't be that far down.

If some article talks about global competitiveness - and isn't talking about sports - that's just another way to say "I hate the US".

The IAEEA might as well be PISA by another name.- since they use the same flaw.
2012-12-12 05:25:16 PM
1 votes:

Ambitwistor: buckler: I guess the thing is that I always found its rules to be arbitrary. I like to approach things from a "why are things this way in particular?" standpoint, and always found "because it's just a fundamental property of our Universe" to be somewhat unsatisfying.

The arbitrariness of the rules is kind of the point of math: write down a set of axioms, and see what you can derive from them. The rules of arithmetic aren't "a fundamental property of our universe"; you can write down other rules too. They just don't turn out to be as useful.


Hm. Okay, that makes sense to me. In a way, I can relate that to literature. You can start off with some presuppositions about the Universe you're creating in your head. Some may lead to a great story, and others inevitably lead to crap.
2012-12-12 05:07:26 PM
1 votes:

Khazar-Khum: Qualified scientists & engineers get paid poorly. Companies would rather hire a college grad than someone with 25 years experience in the field. If you're over 50, good luck finding any engineering/science jobs at all.

There's less of a shortage and more of a 'don't wanna pay' surplus.


So. Much. That.

We have that issue where I work. Just had a guy with 40+ years of experience retire out of a team of three. The other two have 5 years and one year of experience. One of the last things the old guy said before he left was that the company needed to find an experienced engineer that is familiar with the type of product we're making and hire them. Yes, they will have to pay them accordingly but the ability to hit the ground running, so to speak, would prevent the two remaining people from getting absolutely inundated with work and minimize the amount of training they would have to provide for the new hire.

So, in their infinite wisdom, management is hiring a guy graduating this month from college to fill the shoes of a guy with 40+ years of experience. As of 1/1/13, our team will have a collective 6 years of experience between 3 people, and we are the only ones in the entire company supporting our product in the western hemisphere. We're already egregiously late on a number of items, customers are starting to go elsewhere, and having to train this new kid is going to put us even farther behind... all because management is too damn cheap to just pay an experienced guy what he's worth.

/not so CSB
2012-12-12 05:04:37 PM
1 votes:
I remember doing proofs in geometry - in ELEMENTARY school. And it wasn't like I was some kind of prodigy. We all did them.

These days, they don't teach that stuff until 9th or 10th grade. Freaks me out sometimes. We were doing trig and pre-calc by then. And we liked it.
2012-12-12 04:57:17 PM
1 votes:

rwfan: Blue_Blazer: The other thing that is often left out: the USA educates a higher percentage of its children than other countries. These studies are about as useful as comparing elite prep schools to the average American school.

That is certainly not true of Finland and most of Europe.
Percentages of children receiving a secondary education:
[www.childinfo.org image 552x243] 
As you can see the US lags most of Europe.

On the other hand, at least Massachusetts, where my kids go to school, is kicking butt.

/suck it bible belt.


You know what Finland and Massachusetts have that California and Alabama don't have?

Lots of white kids.

/Yeah, I went there.
2012-12-12 04:27:50 PM
1 votes:

Gawdzila: SixOfDLoC: I believe it. Looking over my daughter's homework last night, I see she's learning multiplication.

Only instead of learning the basic 0 through 10 tables, they're teaching it by addition. So to multiply 7 * 18, they expect her to write on the paper 7 +7 = 14, 14 +7 = 21, etc until she's done it 18 times.

While they're maybe not going about it the best way, at least they're trying to teach her what multiplication is. I don't think that's "dumbing down the curriculum" at all. Frankly I think memorizing times tables is the dumber approach, since it doesn't actually promote any mathematical understanding, it's just memorizing grids of meaningless numbers. Making them do every problem that way is excessive, but teaching them how it works and having them do a few problems that way I don't think is a terrible idea at all. Being able to think of multiplication as multiple additions can be useful, and the idea could be used to introduce the concept of factorization.


If a kid can't understand what multiplication is, making them write it out won't help.

Old ways are better, period. Statistics show this. Our kids today are retards. They are because they can be, and get free stuff.
2012-12-12 04:27:06 PM
1 votes:

buckler: I remember in middle school being administered some kind of aptitude test. It indicated that I read and wrote at a Freshman college level, but my math skills were somewhere around a third-grade level. I have a hard time wrapping my head round math for some reason. A friend had a similar problem, but when he went back to college in his 40's, he muscled through it and was successful. Maybe there's hope.


There is nothing inherently difficult about math. We are just told from the day we are born that "MATH IS HARD!!!!" The way we teach it is highly farking dumb, but no one has an inherent difficulty with it.
2012-12-12 04:00:44 PM
1 votes:

TofuTheAlmighty: Fark_Guy_Rob: I really don't see the argument for teacher's being underpaid.

You don't deal with many children, do you? Nor know many teachers and how many hours they spend on the job but off campus. Or how much of their own paychecks they spend on class supplies.


Welcome to the world of work. Anyone in a professional position works more than 40 hours a week, takes shiat home, and sometimes spends some of their own cash to get the job done.

Teachers aren't special in that regard. By understanding that the career path for a teacher never takes them out of an academic environment, the fact that they think they are special in that regard becomes clear.
2012-12-12 03:40:39 PM
1 votes:

Insatiable Jesus: Lionel Mandrake: OnlyM3: With positive results like this, obviously, teachers deserve a raise

Maybe they do.

Imagine if we valued teachers enough to pay them well. A lot more people would see teaching as a viable career option.


---------------------------

What nonsense. Anybody who understands economics knows that the only people worth offering a monetary incentive to are CEOs.


I really don't see the argument for teacher's being underpaid.
i.stack.imgur.com

When you consider the number of days actually worked each year - teaching is a very well paid job. That's just the salary though, the benefits are what really sweeten the deal. And, you have to remember that the salary for a teacher doesn't include the higher-earning jobs teaching leads into, like being a principal or superintendent or any of those administrative type positions.
2012-12-12 03:39:44 PM
1 votes:

Fark_Guy_Rob: And I bet we spend more 'per child' than just about anyone else.

Quick - vote yes on 'Prop 5a' - to ensure our CHILDREN get the education they DESERVE'

//Prop 5a is a raise for teachers.


It varies state to state. Generally, there is no correlation between per student spending and performance on the high end, but there is on the low end. There seems to be a break point at around $7500 per student that gains you very little above it, but will absolutely lose you ground below it.

*Adequately* funded schools can work. Over funded schools are not guaranteed to work. Underfunded schools are at risk of not working.
2012-12-12 03:33:30 PM
1 votes:

JackieRabbit:
Oh, now you are just being logical. Stop that.

Consider too that many middle and high school teachers do not have degrees in mathematic, but have only taken a course in teaching mathematics. Now combine your idea with this one and add that so many of these kids parents have the flawed "I never used algebra after high school, so it's a waste of time" mentality and you've pretty much nailed the causes.


T farkin HAT.

I have always argued that mathematics is taught backwards in American schools, and the fact that it is so poorly integrated into the science curriculum (where, you know, it can be used) is a national failing.

We seem to think that linear algebra is appropriate for middle school kids, but physics, the most easily taught science application for algebra, is best reserved for high school students. It's farking dumb. We could have these kids doing calculus and not even know it.

There is a great white paper on the failings of math education called "The Mathematician's Lament." Google it up for a good read.
2012-12-12 03:25:07 PM
1 votes:

rwfan: Blue_Blazer: The other thing that is often left out: the USA educates a higher percentage of its children than other countries. These studies are about as useful as comparing elite prep schools to the average American school.

That is certainly not true of Finland and most of Europe.


The reason I mentioned Finland is their education system truly focuses on all the students. It is basically the opposite of what people think is a successful school system, there are no elite schools, there are no private schools. And yet in 2006, Finland's pupils scored the highest average results in science and reading in the whole of the developed world. In the OECD's exams for 15 year-olds, known as PISA, they also came second in maths, beaten only by teenagers in South Korea.
2012-12-12 03:24:54 PM
1 votes:
FTFM:

timujin : Absolutely true, But that doesn't really address the fact that as our student's abilities have been steadily decreasing over the last couple of decades, our engineering and scientific workforce has declined as well.

Not true. US student test scores have improved across the board over the past few decades. The US isn't ranked as relatively high anymore because other nations are doing better economically and, most importantly, alleviating poverty while they're at it. Poverty is by far the number one correlate of poor student performance. The reason why the US is falling behind in education (relatively) is that more Americans are going to bed hungry.

People talk about unemployment problems, but there are a ton of jobs out there that can't be filled because we don't have enough qualified candidates in those disciplines. Being able to create less formulaic stories has left us with more unemployed hipsters and fewer PhD's.

And this is laughably false. The US churns out Ph.D.s like crazy. I know, I'm one of them. In the biomedical sciences alone, 7000 Ph.D.s are minted in the US every year yet there are a grand total of 20000 tenured biomed faculty positions. We could replenish the tenured faculty every three years.

That's just an illustration. My generation was told to work hard, get an education, and you'll have a good career. Well, there isn't funding and thus jobs for everyone getting an advanced degree. Those of us in the sciences have been sold a bill of goods because the US is decreasingly spending resources on science (and complementary engineering) because TAX CUTS ÜBER ALLES and corporations now only care about quarterly earnings reports.
2012-12-12 03:17:57 PM
1 votes:
I wonder how much of this is driven by the fact that kids (at least here in GA) see no consistency in the curriculum form year to year as they line the pockets of their cronies who own companies that sell educational materials.

Down here, most on the school boards are Republicans and many have gone on the record in some fashion as being AGAINST public education. And they seem to be doing a great job of destroying the schools from within, while lining their pockets of course.

I can't count how many different "methods" of teaching math my kids have been exposed to thanks to GOP school board members changing to a new "program" every year or two. Get elected to school board, set your brother up selling "educational materials" and profit.
2012-12-12 03:04:12 PM
1 votes:

Blue_Blazer: The other thing that is often left out: the USA educates a higher percentage of its children than other countries. These studies are about as useful as comparing elite prep schools to the average American school.


That is certainly not true of Finland and most of Europe.
Percentages of children receiving a secondary education:
www.childinfo.org 
As you can see the US lags most of Europe.

On the other hand, at least Massachusetts, where my kids go to school, is kicking butt.

/suck it bible belt.
2012-12-12 03:02:37 PM
1 votes:
I believe it. Looking over my daughter's homework last night, I see she's learning multiplication.

Only instead of learning the basic 0 through 10 tables, they're teaching it by addition. So to multiply 7 * 18, they expect her to write on the paper 7 +7 = 14, 14 +7 = 21, etc until she's done it 18 times. Any sensible person would figure 7*10 + 7 * 8, but that would get marked wrong. They won't even stand for making the larger number the base and adding 18 7 times instead of 7 18 times.

Seriously, they're teaching kids to multiply the same way an old cpu without mult instructions and no code optimizations would. They've dumbed down the curriculum so much to accomodate the slowest students that it's starting to make everyone else stupid by "gravitational pull".
2012-12-12 02:46:58 PM
1 votes:

TheBeastOfYuccaFlats: timujin: TheBeastOfYuccaFlats: timujin: People talk about unemployment problems, but there are a ton of jobs out there that can't be filled because we don't have enough qualified candidates in those disciplines

I dunno, most of the time this is not exactly true in my experience.

By far the most common scenario (outside of rather demanding and esoteric medical fields) is that the folks looking to hire people for those "tons of jobs" don't want to pay the going rate for experienced people in those positions, and then bemoan the fact that they can't find a "qualified candidate" for their cut-rate offer.

Perhaps, but the articles I've read almost always point to a lack of qualified candidates, whether in nursing (especially in nursing, actually), IT, engineering or other such disciplines that require an understanding of math and/or science.

Nursing is a demand field right now, though the pay for qualified applicants is actually in-line.

I can tell you that in IT it is *routinely* the case that companies underbid, basically because they can then justify an H1B. I watched my own company need but not hire anyone for an Oracle DBA position for 18 months because they didn't want to pay the going rate for someone with the skillset required.


my wife is an RN certified. Pediatric Trauma and transport experience. She can't find a job. The reason...despite meeting the level of Registered Nurse, she only has an associates in Nursing. The potential employers say she needs a Bacherlors. She contacted some nursing schools about getting a BSN. They reviewed her transcript and there wasn't a single nursing course they said she should take. All of the courses she needs are liberal arts stuff- English, History, Intro to microcomputing, etc...It's almost insulting. Then she looked at all the people they are hiring for those jobs...Haiti, Philliphines, Central America...they are registered nurses but none of them have Bachelors. Seems like they can hire them for cheaper though.
2012-12-12 02:31:30 PM
1 votes:

Rent Party: TheBeastOfYuccaFlats:
I can tell you that in IT it is *routinely* the case that companies underbid, basically because they can then justify an H1B. I watched my own company need but not hire anyone for an Oracle DBA position for 18 months because they didn't want to pay the going rate for someone with the skillset required.

If I'm operating that business, and I have an open rec for 18 months, it would make me question the need for the position in the first place.


It was a situation where the existing people could do station-holding on issues basically forever, but it required someone with a more advanced skillset and prior experience to move forward. I have no doubt that there was a business impact in terms of new project progress.
2012-12-12 02:28:28 PM
1 votes:

doyner: siyuntz: US 8th-grader's math skills have declined nearly twenty-eleven percent when compared to those of many of our global competitors

Average Fark submitter's grammar skills aren't looking so great either.

"[T]o those of many of our" is correct.

"US 8th-grader's math skills" was the error.


You're right. I actually didn't mean to embolden anything, and am not quite sure how it happened. My life was easier when my comments auto-previewed.

/Well, thank goodness it's only one 8th-grader
2012-12-12 02:22:19 PM
1 votes:

siyuntz: US 8th-grader's math skills have declined nearly twenty-eleven percent when compared to those of many of our global competitors

Average Fark submitter's grammar skills aren't looking so great either.


"[T]o those of many of our" is correct.

"US 8th-grader's math skills" was the error.
2012-12-12 02:17:51 PM
1 votes:
US 8th-grader's math skills have declined nearly twenty-eleven percent when compared to those of many of our global competitors

Average Fark submitter's grammar skills aren't looking so great either.
2012-12-12 02:13:56 PM
1 votes:

TheBeastOfYuccaFlats: timujin: People talk about unemployment problems, but there are a ton of jobs out there that can't be filled because we don't have enough qualified candidates in those disciplines

I dunno, most of the time this is not exactly true in my experience.

By far the most common scenario (outside of rather demanding and esoteric medical fields) is that the folks looking to hire people for those "tons of jobs" don't want to pay the going rate for experienced people in those positions, and then bemoan the fact that they can't find a "qualified candidate" for their cut-rate offer.


Perhaps, but the articles I've read almost always point to a lack of qualified candidates, whether in nursing (especially in nursing, actually), IT, engineering or other such disciplines that require an understanding of math and/or science.
2012-12-12 02:10:03 PM
1 votes:
FTFA: But girls rule when it comes to reading.

i.imgur.com

JK. Good on Florida too, actually. 
2012-12-12 02:00:47 PM
1 votes:

TheBeastOfYuccaFlats: timujin: Perhaps because instead of focusing on "skills" the modern education system focuses on passing standardized tests.

We always complain about test scores of Americans vs, in particular, east asians (but also, in some ways, south asians), but...

Here's the thing, at least in my experience, while many high performing east and south asian students can kick your ass in mechanical / rote recollection and application, there is a seeming lack of teaching folks how to do non-linear problem solving in their educational institutions. So, if you run into a problem that isn't a "yellow + blue = green" situation, usually North American and Western European students will start to show the areas they excel within.

It's similar to the problem I saw expressed by the Editor-in-Chief from Yen Press in that the submissions from new artists for comic series from Japanese and Korean amateurs have top notch visual artwork, but the stories are usually pretty linear and by-the-numbers, while the North American submissions often don't reach those same lofty visual heights, but the stories tend to be more often less straight-forward or formulaic affairs.

The word needs both kinds of people, of course.


Absolutely true, But that doesn't really address the fact that as our student's abilities have been steadily decreasing over the last couple of decades, our engineering and scientific workforce has declined as well. People talk about unemployment problems, but there are a ton of jobs out there that can't be filled because we don't have enough qualified candidates in those disciplines. Being able to create less formulaic stories has left us with more unemployed hipsters and fewer PhD's.
2012-12-12 01:33:26 PM
1 votes:

Magorn: thomps: has america ever been first in these studies? the media makes a big deal out of our slipping advantage in educated kids, but i feel like i've been hearing that same story my entire life.

From about the time this went up:
[www.vibrationdata.com image 259x186]

to the time we did this:

[static.ddmcdn.com image 400x394]

There was a massive concerted and antional effort to improve Math and science skills in this country and train more scientists and engineers since it was consiered a matter of national security. After that? Not so much.


We don't care much about edumacating our kids unless there's bragging rights to be gained over godless commies.
2012-12-12 01:18:35 PM
1 votes:

Lionel Mandrake: Apos: twenty-eleven percent

Uhhh....That's the joke, right?

[i159.photobucket.com image 500x367]


Thought so. On a related note, FL finally has something to proudly boast of!
2012-12-12 01:12:53 PM
1 votes:
Perhaps because instead of focusing on "skills" the modern education system focuses on passing standardized tests.
2012-12-12 12:57:49 PM
1 votes:
American fourth-graders are performing better than they were four years ago in math and reading

news flash: first graders aren't very good at math and reading, when compared to 4th graders.

/ I know, I know...
 
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