Center for Digital Education & Converge: research in education technology for K-12 and higher education

U.S. Education vs. [INSERT COUNTRY HERE]

on April 21, 2009

We often hear that U.S. students aren't scoring as well on mathematics and science assessments compared to other countries. Japan, Germany, Hungary, and other countries have consistently shown that their students are obtaining higher comprehension of  material than students in the United States. Why is this? Take a closer look at some crucial comparisons...

Let's focus on Japan: Education is not a requirement for students in Japan -- it is a privilege. The education system is set up similar to that of the United States, but students are not legally required to be in school everyday. Therefore, all of the students in Japan who take the high stakes tests to determine their level of comprehension are students who have parental role models that value education; therefore, the students value education and their priorities are arranged so education comes first. Period. However, in the United States, ALL students are legally required to be in school, but not all students have parental role models who value education; therefore, students may not value education, and many perceive the high stakes tests as a joke.
We're approaching that time of the school year when the high stakes tests (called STAR Tests in California) occur, and I can already tell you that roughly 35 percent of my students will just bubble in answers without even looking at the questions. Here in the United States (or at least in one area of Sacramento County in California), there is a tremendous sense of entitlement, and if there is nothing "in it" for the student, the student doesn't care and won't put effort into something for which they won't "get anything back." You see, there are no consequences or rewards for doing well on the STAR tests. The problem is, United States students don't see that education itself is a reward. 

In Japan, education is a privilege, education is sacred, education is valued, and education itself is a reward. In the United States, education is a right, education is not sacred, education is valued much less than other countries, education itself is not seen as a reward, and unless all students have parental role models that value education at home, our scores on high stakes testing will continue to be lower than other countries.

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on Feb 20, 2010
I completely agree on the term that American students don't value education how they should. However, I have a question: Is this comparing education from k-12 grades or from k-college? Also from what year? I would appreciate if you could clarify these points for me.
on Jul 27, 2010
The outcome of a student depends on (A) Genetic predisposition (B) Parental involvement & attitudes (C) Teachers' capabilities at teaching and motivating and (D) Attitude of the student. California fails its children. We must give all parents the choice of where to send their kids to school. Good students will come together and become better. Bad students will fail without bringing the others down with them. In the meantime, my wife and I are leaving California before our son starts school because of the deplorable schools and high taxes, and we live in an 85%ile district for the state. It is not good enough.
on Aug 11, 2010
We have an interesting debate going on about this subject at the following link: Come join the discussion.
on Sep 2, 2010
While this is true in Japan it's not necessarily so for other countries such as South Korea. AS WELL, just because they aren't legally required to attend doesn't mean that only the truly overachieving do. In Japan, although they aren't required to attend after the 9th grade the majority (90-99%) still do so your statement really isn't a fair comparison. Just saying so you don't confuse any readers who might take your information as a definite truth.
on Oct 17, 2010
So the reason the US is so behind in test scores is because they just don't give a $hit? Not because they are dumb? Well that makes me feel even worse about our country now. The score is the score, I don't care if you are dumb or didn't care for the test. Not caring is worse. This isnt the child's fault, it is the fault of(and in this order) parents, teachers, and government.
on Jan 11, 2011
...and I can already tell you that roughly 35 percent of my students will just bubble in answers without even looking at the questions. ******************** That's because the STAR tests are a joke. The teachers teach to the the test, instead of teaching academics. Of course, the problem is the unions and the school boards. Want better results? Move to a voucher system. Let the parents pick whatever school they like. This will inject competition into learning and only the good schools will continue to survive.
on Jan 17, 2012
i love the comparison with couldn't have been written any better...kudos to the writer for that...

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