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New PISA Results Show U.S. Must Back Changes to Help Students Develop Deeper Learning

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January 15, 2014 03:32 pm

Rating
Bob Wise

“The PISA rankings are only the surface story; much more important is PISA’s vast database that shares lessons of high-performing nations that reveal a great deal about what students need to learn—and this information should steer federal and state educational policy going forward,” write Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education, and Barbara Chow, the program director for education at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, in a co-authored editorial in The Hechinger Report.

Wise and Chow detail the lessons that the United States can learn from the most recent results from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), a test of 15-year-olds in 64 countries. US students put up mediocre results on the test, which is administered every three years by the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD).

Although disappointed in the results, the US is creating a foundation for educational standards that will lead to improvement on international rankings like PISA. Even more importantly, new, high-quality standards like the Common Core State Standards that 46 states have adopted, will equip students with the skills they need to succeed in an increasingly globalized and educated workforce, Wise and Chow note. These higher thinking skills, called “deeper learning” competencies, extend beyond rote memorization and focus on teaching students how to handle real life situations.

Students are already learning and mastering these concepts – which include critical thinking – in the countries that excelled in the latest PISA findings.

“The latest PISA findings confirm the importance of recent actions in the United States to bring deeper learning concepts to all children,” say Wise and Chow. “These standards and accompanying tests will emphasize deeper learning. They are badly needed, and they will help build a better future for all young people.”

Read the full column.

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