Adam Minter notes that some of the China hype is not all it’s cracked up to be.
In 2009, Shanghai students did so well — beating the world in math, science and reading — that President Barack Obama declared it a “Sputnik moment,” requiring immediate action. A similar panic broke out in 2012. But this year proved to be a surprise. The results from the 2015 tests, released this month, showed Chinese students ranked sixth in math, 10th in science and 27th in reading. What happened?
On one hand, the answer is simple. Instead of merely testing Shanghai’s elite, the 2015 exams included a broader selection of students across China, which dragged down scores. But the results also highlighted an important problem: China’s much-lauded education system remains riven by inequality, with far-reaching consequences for schools, students and, ultimately, the economy.
I wrote about this a few years ago for TIME and got tagged as an apologist for failing schools (although the part about Russia hasn’t held up too well….). But these international compressions often carry a lot of important context that matters to how one thinks about them.
Ed Navigator with an interesting take on this.
In other news, Estonia!