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[4 Feb 2020 | No Comment | 1,613]

PISA has many peculiar and surprising discoveries…
PISA wants to offer advice on anything and everything considered important to students in the world so it has decided to jump on the bandwagon of student well being. Life satisfaction is a very important aspect of well being because it “is closely associated with happiness, and can enable the kinds of healthy habits and attitudes that lead to a successful, fulfilling life.” Thus PISA wants to “help educators, schools and parents promote positive development amongst youth, and identify and support students who experience …

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[9 Jan 2020 | No Comment | 2,209]

PISA has many peculiar and surprising discoveries…
Fear of failure improves academic performance.
That’s a conclusion one can draw from PISA’s analysis of its data. This is true at the system level. “At the system level, the greater the fear of failure expressed by students, the higher the reading scores in that education system” (OECD, 2019, p. 193). This is especially true for high performing East Asian education systems and some English speaking systems. PISA found that:
a large number of English-speaking and East Asian education systems were amongst those whose students were …

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[6 Jan 2020 | No Comment | 1,737]

PISA has many peculiar and surprising discoveries…
Should we encourage students to co-operate?
Yes, because according to PISA, the omnipotent judge of education policy and practice:
In about 78% of school systems, and on average across OECD countries, students scored higher in reading when they reported greater co-operation amongst their peers, after accounting for the socio-economic profile of students and schools (as measured by the PISA index of economic, social and cultural status) (Table III.B1.8.10). (OECD, 2019, p. 122).
But wait. PISA also found:
In about 88% of the countries and economies that participated in …

Blogs, China/Chinese, Education Reforms, Globalization »

[4 Jan 2020 | 2 Comments | 4,694]

PISA has many peculiar and surprising discoveries…
Having a growth mindset is negatively associated with academic performance for participating students from China (Beijing-Shanghai-Jiangsu-Zhejiang or B-S-J-Z China), according to the 2018 PISA results. That is, Chinese students who had a fixed mindset scored higher in PISA reading than those who had a growth mindset. Considering that Chinese students’ stunning scores that put them way above all other students in the world, this finding should be disconcerting to proponents of growth mindset, including the PISA team.
Does this invalidate the belief that growth mindset …

Blogs, Education Reforms, Technology »

[2 Jan 2020 | One Comment | 3,547]

“Better-paid, better-educated workers face the most exposure” to AI, concludes a  recent report about the impact of Artificial Intelligence on jobs in the future. This conclusion should make us question the widely held belief that our children should get more education. More education is never a bad idea and has long been believed to lead to better lives, more income, for example, as illustrated in the diagram below.

Historical data suggest that the premium of education has increased over the years. The payoff of more education has grown significantly from the 1960s …

Blogs, Education Reforms, Featured, Globalization »

[5 Dec 2019 | 4 Comments | 6,134]
The PISA Illusion

This article was originally published in the Washington Post on December 3rd 2019. It was adapted from part one of an article to appear in Journal of Educational Change. The longer version discusses three illusions PISA has created and relied on for its undeserved impact on global education: the illusion of excellence, the illusion of science, and the illusion of progress.
PISA is a masterful magician. It has successfully created an illusion of education quality and marketed it to the world. In 2018, 79 countries took part in this magic show out of the belief …

Blogs, Education Reforms, Globalization »

[7 Oct 2018 | 4 Comments | 19,915]
Problems with Evidence-based Education: Side Effects in Education

The following is the Introduction of my book What Works Can Hurt: Side Effects in Education published by Teachers College Press in June 2018.
“Ibuprofen may cause a severe allergic reaction,” you are warned when you buy a bottle of Advil, and “this product may cause stomach bleeding.” Medical products are required to disclose clearly their intended effects and known side effects. The intended effect of the common pain reliever Ibuprofen, for example, is to temporarily relieve “minor aches and pains.” The drug’s known side effects include allergic reaction and stomach bleeding. Hence …

Blogs, Education Reforms »

[2 Feb 2018 | 10 Comments | 19,507]

My latest book Reach for Greatness: Personalizable Education for All has ben released by Corwin Press. You can order it from Corwin or Amazon. Below is the Introduction.
Benjamin Franklin wrote about a philosopher friend of his who used his two legs to determine with whom to avoid acquaintances more than 200 years ago. In The Deformed and Handsome Leg, Franklin says there are two kinds of people: One always finds beauty and good in things and people and thus is happy and pleasant to be with, while the other always looks …

Blogs, China/Chinese, Education Reforms, Globalization »

[20 Sep 2017 | One Comment | 31,720]

This piece was published in the Washington Post’s Answer Sheet under the title There’s a new call for Americans to embrace Chinese-style education. That’s a huge mistake. on September 20 2017.
Last week, the Wall Street Journal published an article titled “Why American Students Need Chinese Schools?[1]” by Lenora Chu, author of the newly released book Little Soldiers: An American Boy, a Chinese School, and the Global Race to Achieve. The message is familiar, along the same line as another WSJ article titled Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior several years ago.
I would …

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[9 Sep 2017 | No Comment | 11,366]

Had a great interview with the Deep-Play Research group led by my long time friend Dr. Punya Mishra, Associate Dean of Scholarship & Innovation and Professor in Leadership & Innovation at Mary Lou Fulton Teacher’s College, Arizona State University. Thanks to Carmen Richardson for the interview and turning some random thoughts into a great essay. It is published as part of the Rethinking Technology and Creativity series in Tech Trends.
Read the essay here: The Courage to be Creative: An Interview with Yong Zhao