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[5 Dec 2016 | No Comment | 1,239]

The results of the Brexit referendum and U.S. presidential election will go down in history as the biggest surprises of 2016. The final results defied all predictions. The polls were wrong, as were the pundits. Though they predicted that the majority of Brits would vote to remain in the EU, more ended up voting to leave. Though they predicted a win for Clinton, Trump is the one moving into the White House this January. “From the US election to Brexit…the polls set voters and pundits up for a fall,” writes Siobhan …

Blog, Education Reforms, Globalization »

[29 Nov 2016 | 8 Comments | 4,645]

TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study) beat PISA by one week. It just released its 2015 results. Within hours of the release, Google News has already collected over 10,000 news stories reacting to the results from around the world, some sad, some happy, some envious, and some confused. The biggest news is, however, nothing new: Children in East Asian countries best at maths. They were the best 20 years ago when TIMSS was first introduced in 1995. They were the best in all subsequent cycles.
Singapore, Hong Kong SAR, …

Blog, China/Chinese, Education Reforms, Globalization »

[19 Jun 2015 | 4 Comments | 21,411]

Executive Summary [full report]
Interest in learning from Asia’s high-performing education systems has grown rapidly in recent years. A flurry of research reports, media stories, and personal accounts of how Asia’s best education systems achieved their superb rankings on international league tables has been produced in the quest to improve education systems around the world (OECD, 2011) (Tucker, 2011) (Tucker, 2014) (Jensen, 2012) (Barber, Donnelly, & Rizvi, 2012). However, most of the popular observations and suggestions fail to point out the most important lessons to be learned from Asia.
The lessons from …

Blog, China/Chinese, Education Reforms, Globalization, Technology »

[1 Nov 2014 | 4 Comments | 20,241]

Originally published in China-US Focus on October 23, 2015. Adapted from my book Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Dragon: Why China has the Best (and Worst) Education System in the World.
China’s capacity for innovation has become a hot topic for China, the U.S., and the rest of the world today. There is no question that China must innovate its way out of the “middle income trap.” But whether the country – which over the last thirty years has proven to be able to make everything – can create anything …

Blog, Education Reforms, Globalization, Technology »

[2 Jul 2014 | 16 Comments | 46,856]

Last year when my son graduated from college, I asked the question “can you stay out of my basement?” as I believe an important outcome of education is the ability to live out of one’s parent’s basement, that is, the ability to be an independent and contributing member of a society.
The Common Core and most education reforms around the world define the outcome of schooling as readiness for college and career readiness. But as recent statistics suggest, college-readiness, even college-graduation-readiness, does not lead to out-basement-readiness. Over 50% of recent college …

Blog, China/Chinese, Education Reforms, Globalization »

[12 Apr 2014 | 8 Comments | 43,165]

How Does PISA Put the World at Risk: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4
Part 5
If I were a conspiracy theorist, I would suggest that PISA is a secrete plan of Western powers to derail China’s education reforms.  China has been working hard to introduce significant reforms since the 1990s to overcome the apparent shortcomings of its education system in order to cultivate a more diverse, creative, and entrepreneur citizenry. Such a citizenry is urgently needed for China’s successful transition from a labor-intensive economy to one that relies on innovation, …

Blog, China/Chinese, Education Reforms, Globalization »

[29 Mar 2014 | 7 Comments | 62,849]

How Does PISA Put the World at Risk: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3
Part 4
China’s poorest beat our best pupils—The Telegraph (UK), 2-17-2014
Children of Shanghai cleaners better at math than kids of Israeli lawyers—Haaretz (Israel), 2-19-2014
Cleaners’ children in China beat kids of US, UK professionals at maths: study—NDTV (India), 2-18-2014
Children of Chinese janitors outscore wealthy Canadians in global exams—The Globe and Mail (Canada), 2-19- 2014
These are some of the most recent sensational headlines generated by PISA with a 4-page report entitled Do parents’ occupations have an impact on student performance …

Blog, China/Chinese, Education Reforms, Globalization »

[23 Mar 2014 | 7 Comments | 44,019]

Few numbers command as much power as PISA scores, not even the number of Olympic medals or Nobel Prize winners in the world today. It is utterly shocking and embarrassing to see some otherwise rational and well-educated people (or at least they should be) in powerful positions believe that three test scores show the quality of their education systems, the effectiveness of their teachers, the ability of their students, and the future prosperity of their society.
PISA has become the star-maker in the education universe because of its bold claim to …

Blog, China/Chinese, Education Reforms, Globalization »

[19 Feb 2014 | 6 Comments | 18,108]

(from my new book: Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Dragon: Why China Has the World’s Best and Worst Education to be published by Jossey-Bass)
For those who admire the Chinese education system, here is another cautionary tale.  The Chinese government has (re)issued another round of orders to end two practices that have delivered China’s great test scores: school choice and testing.
In January 2014, the Chinese Ministry of Education issued a stern policy demanding all middle schools (grades 6 to 8 ) admitting students solely based on residence in an attempt …

Blog, China/Chinese, Education Reforms, Globalization »

[2 Dec 2013 | 24 Comments | 60,062]

“Finland Fell from the Tip of PISA,” says the headline of a story in the largest subscription newspaper Helsingin Sanomat in Finland, according to Google Translate (I think it should be
Finland Falls from the Top of PISA). I don’t know Finnish but thanks to Google Translate, I was able to understand most of the story. The gist is that Finland has fallen from the top in the current round of PISA.
This is big news, with significant implications not only for the Finns but also for the rest of the world …