Japanese schoolchildren will spend more time on core subjects such has math and science under guidelines unveiled on Friday, in an effort to boost academic standards months after the country slipped in global education rankings.
The changes, to be implemented gradually from next year, reverse reforms implemented in 2000 to create a more "relaxed" environment that would foster creativity and reduce rote learning.
Japan children to spend more time on math, science
Reuters, February 15, 2008
It's nice to know that some countries learn from their experiments in reform and make adjustments accordingly. It takes character to admit that something isn't working and do something about it.
Actually, it's more like common sense, isn't it?
Japan only waited until their students had fallen to sixth place in the OECD rankings to re-evaluate and begin implementing change. That's a pretty decent learning curve.
So, what do you do when your students continue to rank below most other industrialized nations on assessments such as PISA?
Oops! There goes another generation of poorly educated children. Let's keep doing more of the same only S-L-O-W-E-R and louder.
Highlights from PISA 2006: Performance of U.S. 15-Year-Old Students in Science and Mathematics Literacy in an International Context
In 2006, fifty-seven jurisdictions participated in PISA, including 30 OECD jurisdictions and 27 non-OECD jurisdictions. The results show the average combined science literacy scale score for U.S. students to be lower than the OECD average. U.S. students scored lower on science literacy than their peers in 16 of the other 29 OECD jurisdictions and 6 of the 27 non-OECD jurisdictions. Twenty-two jurisdictions (5 OECD jurisdictions and 17 non-OECD jurisdictions) reported lower scores compared to the United States in science literacy. On the mathematics literacy scale, U.S. students scored lower than the OECD average. Thirty-one jurisdictions (23 OECD jurisdictions and 8 non-OECD jurisdictions) scored higher on average, than the United States in mathematics literacy in 2006. In contrast, 20 jurisdictions (4 OECD jurisdictions and 16 non-OECD jurisdictions) scored lower than the United States in mathematics literacy in 2006.