Education Week - January 9, 2013 - (Page 9)

EDUCATION WEEK n JANUARY 9, 2013 n 9 nia eclipsed the United States in grade 8. The timss data contrast to some extent with the high-profile results issued two years ago from pisa, the Program for International Student Assessment. On pisa, which tests 15-year-olds, U.S. students trailed the average in math for the 34 member-nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, though the United States for the first time reached the oecd average in science, and it scored on a par with that average in literacy. schools. ... Pisa has a more skillsbased approach, [focused on] transitions to the work world.” MATH AND SCIENCE ACHIEVEMENT U.S. 4th and 8th graders scored above the average of particiapting nations on the 2011 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, or TIMSS. State Results Nine U.S. states opted to provide big enough samples of students to be directly compared with participating nations on timss, though only Florida and North Carolina did so in grade 4. T h e b i g g e s t s t a n d o u t wa s Massachusetts, which was especially strong in science, with an average score of 567. The only nation to score higher was Singapore, while South Korea and Taiwan were not measurably different. A full one-quarter of Massachusetts students reached the advanced level. (In Singapore, the figure was 33 percent.) Minnesota, with an 8th grade science score of 553, was outperformed only by Singapore and Taiwan. As a “trends” report, timss has results for some countries, including the United States, dating back to 1995. Although U.S. scores in 4th grade science are flat compared with those in 1995, in 8th grade science as well as math at both levels, students have posted statistically significant gains. In math, the U.S. score jumped 23 points, to 541, in grade 4; it rose 17 points, to 509, in grade 8. But the U.S. gains were no match for those made by some other countries. In 4th grade science, where U.S. results have been flat, the nations with the biggest gains were Iran (up 73 points, to 453), Portugal (up 70 points, to 522), and Singapore (up 60 points, to 583). Portugal was also a standout in 4th grade math, with its score spiking by 90 points since 1995, the largest increase of any nation across timss grades and subjects. With that increase, to 532, it is only 9 points shy of the United States. Assistant editor Catherine Gewertz contributed to this report. 8th Grade Math EDUCATION SYSTEM TIMSS average SOUTH KOREA SINGAPORE TAIWAN HONG KONG JAPAN MASSACHUSETTS MINNESOTA NORTH CAROLINA RUSSIA QUEBEC INDIANA COLORADO CONNECTICUT ISRAEL FINLAND FLORIDA ONTARIO UNITED STATES ENGLAND ALBERTA HUNGARY AUSTRALIA SLOVENIA LITHUANIA AVERAGE SCORE 467 613 p 611 p 609 p 586 p 570 p 561 p 545 p 537 p 539 p 532 p 522 p 518 518 516 514 513 512 509 507 505 505 505 505 502 4th Grade Science EDUCATION SYSTEM TIMSS average SOUTH KOREA SINGAPORE FINLAND JAPAN RUSSIA TAIWAN FLORIDA UNITED STATES ALBERTA NORTH CAROLINA CZECH REPUBLIC HONG KONG HUNGARY SWEDEN NETHERLANDS ENGLAND ONTARIO DENMARK GERMANY ITALY PORTUGAL NORTHERN IRELAND QUEBEC IRELAND AUSTRALIA LITHUANIA BELGIUM (FLEMISH) ROMANIA SPAIN POLAND AVERAGE SCORE 486 587 p 583 p 570 p 559 p 552 p 552 p 545 p 544 541 538 536 q 535 q 534 q 533 q 531 q 529 q 528 q 528 q 528 q 524 q 522 q 517 q 516 q 516 q 516 q 515 q 509 q 505 q 505 q 505 q Economic Competitors Experts say several factors may help explain differences in the U.S. performance on pisa, including the pool of countries taking part. Although the participants overlap significantly, they are not identical. The international averages for pisa are based on a set of industrialized nations from the oecd (though some other countries participate); the timss average includes a number of less-developed nations on the lower end of the achievement scale, such as Morocco, Yemen, and Indonesia, that help push the average downward. “The oecd countries are for the most part our chief economic partners and our competitors,” Mr. Buckley said in a conference call last month with reporters. “They tend to be wealthier nations.” The timss average includes “fewer of our wealthiest competitors ... and is a more diverse group of countries,” he said. Another difference is that pisa tests 15-year-olds, while timss gauges 4th and 8th graders, Mr. Buckley noted. Also, the exams themselves are very different. “Timss and pirls are curriculumbased assessments,” said Michael O. Martin, the co-executive director of the International Study Center at Boston College. “They try to assess what is being taught in p Score is statistically higher than the U.S. q Score is statistically lower than the U.S. The TIMSS averages, calculated by Education Week, include 42 countries and education systems for 8th grade math, and 50 for 4th grade science. They do not count results for “benchmarking” education systems (such as those shaded above) that also participated, as well as several countries that tested students at a different grade level. Note: The charts include those countries and jurisdictions that scored an average 500 points or better on the exam. SOURCES: National Center for Education Statistics; TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center, Boston College; International Association of Educational Achievement; Education Week Head Start Gains Found to Fade by 3rd Grade in Latest Study By Lesli A. Maxwell While Head Start benefited children’s learning and development during their time in the federally financed preschool program, those advantages had mostly vanished by the end of 3rd grade, a new federal study finds. In the final phase of a largescale, randomized, controlled study of nearly 5,000 children from low-income families, researchers found that the positive effects on literacy and language development demonstrated by children who entered Head Start at age 4 had dissipated by the end of 3rd grade, and that they were, on average, academically indistinguishable from their peers who had not been in Head Start. The new findings, released last month by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, are consistent with an earlier phase of the study that showed most benefits of Head Start participation had faded by the end of 1st grade. The $8 billion Head Start program serves nearly 1 million lowincome children. Researchers examined a nationally representative sample of Head Start programs. The children involved in the study, who all were eligible for the preschool services based on family income, were assigned by lottery to a group that had access to Head Start services or to a control group that could not participate in Head Start but could enroll in other early-childhood programs. The national study—which Congress mandated in 1998—consists of two age cohorts: 3- and 4-year-old children who entered Head Start for the first time in 2002. Congress ordered the study to examine the impacts through the end of 1st grade; the hhs extended it through 3rd grade. The study’s release, which had been delayed, comes at a tense time for Head Start. More than 132 longtime grantees who provide services must compete with other bidders to retain their funding, part of an Obama administration effort to improve program quality. These results won’t be announced until spring. Benefits Wane In the study’s first phase, a group of children who entered Head Start at age 4 saw added benefits from spending one year in the program, including learning vocabulary, letter-word recognition, spelling, color identification, and letter-naming, compared with children of the same age in a control group who didn’t attend Head Start. For children who entered Head Start at age 3, the gains were even greater. The second phase of the study showed that those gains had faded considerably by the end of 1st grade, with Head Start children showing an edge only in learning vocabulary over their control-group peers. In the final phase, “there was little evidence of systematic differences in children’s elementary school experiences through 3rd grade, between children provided access to Head Start and their counterparts in the control group,” the researchers write. “We’ve seen this movie before with the 1st grade results and now at the end of 3rd grade,” said Grover J. “Russ” Whitehurst, the director of the Brown Center on Education Policy at the Washington-based Brookings Institution. “There are clear signals here that we need some innovative policies around the delivery of services.” By the end of 3rd grade, those in the 4-year-old cohort showed only a single academic advantage— performance on a reading assessment—over their control-group peers. No significant positive effects were seen on math skills, prewriting, grade promotion, or teachers’ reports of children’s school accomplishments. Lisa Guernsey, the director of the Early Education Initiative at the New America Foundation, a Washington-based think tank, said the 3rd grade findings still leave questions unanswered about variation in the amount of time children spent in the Head Start classrooms and in the quality of the learning experiences for children in both Head Start and other early-childhood programs. About 40 percent of the children in the control group did not receive formal preschool services; the rest did, just not through Head Start. Researchers found significant differences for the two age groups in children’s social-emotional development. Parents of Head Start participants in the 4-year-old cohort reported less aggressive behavior in their children at the end of 3rd grade than did the parents of the other children. For the 3-year-old group, Head Start parents saw better social skills in their children. Scan this tag with your smartphone for a link to “Third Grade Follow-up to the Head Start Impact Study: Final Report.”

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - January 9, 2013

Education Week - January 9, 2013
State Lawmakers Gear for Action On Broad K-12 Issues Menu
INDUSTRY & INNOVATION: Teachers Seek Specialized Peer Networks
Shootings Revive Debates on Security
Student-Press Ruling Resonates From 1988
News in Brief
Report Roundup
FOCUS ON: INTERNATIONAL BACCALAUREATE: IB Supporters Tout Program’s Links With Common Core
INDUSTRY & INNOVATION: Federal Effort Aims to Bridge Ed. Tech., Learning Sciences
U.S. Students Exceed International Average, But Lag Some Asian Nations in Math, Science
New Global Results Spark Questions On Finland’s Standing
Head Start Gains Found to Fade By 3rd Grade in Latest Study
Testing Group Selects Exam to Gauge ‘College Readiness’
State Chiefs Pledge Teacher Prep, Licensing Upgrades
Blogs of the Week
Post-Tragedy, Difficult Choices Loom
At Sandy Hook, Grim Day Unfolds
Legal, Logistical Concerns Seen In Call to Arm Adults
Tragedy Sets Off Fresh Debate Over Federal Gun-Policy Role
Advocates Worry Shootings Will Deepen Autism’s Stigma
K-12 Aid Outlook Murky, Despite ‘Cliff’ Deal
District Race to Top Winners Split $400 Million Pot
Policy Brief
Top State Ed. Positions Turn Over as Year Ends
CAROLYN LUNSFORD MEARS: After the Tragedy, What Next?
DAVID YOUNG & J.B. BUXTON: Language Education We Can Use
W. JAMES POPHAM: Formative Assessment’s ‘Advocatable Moment’
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
JEFFREY R. HENIG: Reading the Future of Education Policy

Education Week - January 9, 2013