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Different international test, similar results

I’ve been meaning to post on PISA results for a while since the first group was released in 2013. This month PISA released results of a test that promised to evaluate creativity and problem-solving, often seen as hard to assess and as a strength of U. S. culture relative to the world. So how did U. S. students perform? Decidedly average.

Again, there are now columns and papers and, well, blog posts written about how and why U. S. students are falling behind. This alarmism is not restricted to the U. S.: The BBC describes the results as a “league table” (for Americans, the analogy would be “NFL standings”) and bemoans the falling ranking of its home nation (26th place, 10 ahead of the Yanks). This one from the L. A. Times suggests the implementation of the Common Core standards will improve things.

My state, Florida, has earned some notoriety for bringing the nation’s average PISA scores down (even though the Miami Herald slant on the results was that Florida students are “happy” in spite their poor performance). If Florida were a country, its performance on the general PISA test would put it between Slovakia and Israel, while Massachusetts would be equal with Germany, between Canada and Austria. Keep in mind that the 15-year-olds taking this test have “benefited” from reforms in Florida put in place before they were in kindergarten: the Sunshine State Standards, the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, and increasing accountability for students, teachers, and schools for test performance. Diane Ravitch had a good time snookering Florida on this one: See “Lesson 2″ of her blog post.

I’ve written already here about international test scores and the gap of U. S. students, and I don’t really have much to add to that. I think the unit plan I developed for Teachers for Global Classrooms encourages the collaboration and problem-solving that businesses and PISA seem to be looking for. I updated that page and include some comments from the students’ post-project reflection piece.

New tab: Broward Global Education Symposium

The Broward Global Education Symposium was a great success. A big thanks goes to all the presenters, all the attendees, and all the support for making it happen. I created a new page so you can review materials and see some photos by clicking on the menu tab. Let me know how you are applying this information in your classroom and how we can make the next symposium even better.

Unit plan updated

I added quite a few items to the unit plan tab, based on my students’ completed of the oppressed writers project. You can find a project description for students, grading scales (a.k.a. rubrics), and student samples.

I’ll be providing some more information as I read student reflections and start getting return correspondence from the students’ letters.

If you have any feedback or questions, please feel free to comment!

Follow the Sweden spring break blog

Sixteen Pompano Beach High School students and four chaperones are spending their spring break on an educational trip to Sweden. You can follow their blog here.

Broward Global Education Symposium

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Thanks to a U. S. Teachers Alumni grant from IREX, we are seeking to introduce Broward Schools teachers and staff to the concepts and strategies of global education. I’m still waiting to finalize some of the speakers, but this is what we are looking at so far:

Who?     Teachers, administrators, and staff of Broward County Public Schools

What?    An exciting, enriching, and enlightening workshop—designed by educators for educators

When?   March 21, 2014—planning day, no subs needed—8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., lunch will be included

Where? Pompano Beach High School; we will have sessions in the auditorium, media center, and computer labs as needed; meeting rooms will have wireless internet access, projectors with screens, laptops/tablets as needed, microphone/speakers as needed

How?      E-mail Lisa Morton, lisa.morton@browardschools.com

Why?     To prepare students for the interconnected communities in which they will be living and working in the 21st century

 

Agenda (boldface indicates confirmed speakers):

  • Welcome: Hudson Thomas, Principal, Pompano Beach High School
  • What is global education and why should we incorporate it into our classrooms: Tina Stoklosa, U. S. Teachers Alumni, Cypress Bay High School
  • Educational travel opportunities for students: Jill Narus, Intern Assistant Principal, Pompano Beach High School
  • Professional development travel opportunities for teachers: Julia Perlowski, U. S. Teachers Alumni, Pompano Beach High School; Jeanne Pellegrino, former Fulbright scholar, Plantation High School
  • Intercultural learning opportunities within Broward County: Amalio Nieves, Curriculum Supervisor, Diversity Cultural Outreach and Prevention, Broward County Public Schools
  • Globalizing within the disciplines: break-out sessions with various teachers and curriculum specialists as facilitators
  • Applying Common Core to global education: Laurie Tanner, U. S. Teachers Alumni, Crystal Lake Middle School
  • Linking education and global employment opportunities: Brian Cunningham, President, J Strategies
  • How local businesses are connecting globally and what they’re looking for from BCPS graduates: Sandy McDonald, Director, Broward County Office and Economic and Small Business Development
  • Comparison of education systems and opportunities for exchange: Andrés Ruiz, Consul of Community Affairs and Press, Consulate General of Mexico in Miami; Valerie Drake, Cultural Attache, Consulate General of France in Miami
  • Thinking locally, acting globally: Andrew Shipe, U. S. Teachers Alumni, Pompano Beach High School

If you have any questions, words of wisdom, suggestions, complaints, etc., please post them here.

Video

Arthur C. Clarke predicts the future–did he get it right?

This is a clip from a BBC show in 1964. I found it after watching a car commercial during the Olympics that uses audio from this. He imagines a world centered on communication, in which “the whole world will have shrunk to a point.”

Link

Three films for learning about globalization

Three films for learning about globalization

I’m poaching this link from James Mulhern’s http://www.synthesizingeducation.net/. Have you tried any of these in your classroom? Let us know how it went by commenting below!

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