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[4 Jan 2020 | 2 Comments | 3,931]

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, Globalization »

[5 Dec 2019 | 4 Comments | 4,825]

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 | 18,834]

The following is the Introduction of my book What Works Can Hurt: Side Effects in Education published by Teachers College Press in June 2018.
Introduction
“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, China/Chinese, Education Reforms, Globalization »

[20 Sep 2017 | One Comment | 29,206]

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.
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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 …

Blogs, Education Reforms, Globalization »

[5 Dec 2016 | 2 Comments | 14,780]

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 …

Blogs, Education Reforms, Globalization »

[29 Nov 2016 | 11 Comments | 21,177]

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, …

Blogs, China/Chinese, Education Reforms, Globalization »

[19 Jun 2015 | 4 Comments | 32,129]

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 …

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

[1 Nov 2014 | 4 Comments | 26,513]

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 …

Blogs, Education Reforms, Globalization, Technology »

[2 Jul 2014 | 16 Comments | 54,524]

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 …

Blogs, China/Chinese, Education Reforms, Globalization »

[12 Apr 2014 | 10 Comments | 51,524]

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, …