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In the world’s biggest education test, one small country has raced past all the others

Quartz – Jenny Anderson and Amy X. Wang

“Every three years the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) tests 15-year-olds around the world on their math, science and reading abilities. Then, countries around the world celebrate, or panic. For example, in 2000, the world learned Finland was a global education superpower (that was news to many in Finland too, according to some). Somehow the country managed to start kids in school at 7, have short school days, assign little homework, test kids infrequently, and still eke out amazing results.”(more)

Can U.S. students catch Asia in science, math?

The Mercury News – Sharon Noguchi

“Except for one blip among eighth-graders, U.S. students held steady in math and science but still lag significantly behind the top tier of East Asian countries, according to international test scores released Tuesday. On tests administered last fall, students in Singapore outscored other countries in both science and math. Clustered toward the top in math, near Singapore’s 618 points for fourth-graders and 621 points for eighth-graders, were South Korea, Taipei in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Japan, and in science also the Russian Federation and Slovenia.”(more)

Singapore tops global education rankings

BBC – Sean Coughlan

“Singapore has the highest-achieving primary and secondary pupils in international education tests in maths and science. But primary school pupils in Northern Ireland were ranked sixth at maths, the highest of any in Europe. England’s performance has not advanced since tests four years ago. The top places in these rankings are dominated by East Asian countries, such as South Korea and Japan, which are pulling away from their competitors.”(more)

Why Singapore’s kids are so good at maths

The FT Magazine – Jeevan Vasagar

“A city-state of just 5.5 million people, Singapore is routinely ranked at or near the top in global comparisons of mathematical ability and boasts one of the most admired education systems in the world. In a league table based on test scores from 76 countries published by the OECD in May last year, Singapore came first, followed by Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan. The rankings, based on testing 15-year-olds’ abilities in maths and science, reinforced a sense that western children were slipping behind their Asian peers. The UK was in 20th place and the US 28th in the table. At meetings of the world’s education ministers, when it is Singapore’s turn to speak, “everyone listens very closely”, says Andreas Schleicher, head of the OECD’s education assessment programme. Governments around the world have sought to incorporate elements of the “Singapore model” into their own approach to teaching maths and science. The latest is the UK, which earlier this month announced that half of England’s primary schools would adopt the style of maths teaching that is used in Singapore, with up to £41m in funding over four years to train teachers and provide new textbooks. But what is it about Singapore’s system that enables its children to outperform their international peers? And how easy will it be for other countries to import its success? .”(more)

Asian maths method offered to schools

BBC – Staff Writer

“Thousands of primary schools in England are to be offered the chance to follow an Asian style of teaching maths. The government is providing £41m of funding to help interested schools to adopt this method, which is used in high performing places like Shanghai, Singapore and Hong Kong. The money will be available to more than 8,000 primary schools in England. This approach to maths is already used in some schools, but the cash means it can be taken up more widely. The Department for Education says the mastery approach to maths teaching, as it is known, involves children being taught as a whole class and is supported by the use of high-quality textbooks. Pupils are encouraged to physically represent mathematical concepts, so objects and pictures are used to demonstrate and visualise abstract ideas, alongside numbers and symbols.”(more)

Singapore Math Is Popular Among Educators Worldwide. Why?

The Asian Scientist – Claudia Chong

“US-based company Singapore Math Inc. first introduced the Singapore Math textbook series Primary Mathematics (Standards edition) to the US in 1998. Since then, states such as California and Oregon have approved the use of these textbooks in all kindergarten and elementary schools, International Enterprise Singapore revealed in 2009. Singapore Math textbooks have also found their way into domestic settings for homeschooling purposes. But what exactly makes the Singapore model of math education so attractive to Western countries?.”(more)