This week's horrible math scores among 4th and 8th graders highlights America's ongoing struggle to score competitively in international standardized tests in math and science. So the New York Times Room for Debate blog brought together five education experts to offer solutions. Are they any good?
Let's review their arguments:
1) Blame the Tests "The only good news is that students attending Catholic schools -- ironically the institutions sheltered from Washington's accountability regime -- displayed a robust jump in achievement...The culture of standardized testing -- legitimated by Washington policies -- has served to de-skill and demoralize our best teachers."
2) Blame the Teachers "There are certainly problems with No Child Left Behind, but the law's encouragement of testing is not one of them...Teaching methods, curriculum, lack of adequate subject matter knowledge among math teachers and lack of real consequences in school accountability systems, rather than tests and standards, could be the real culprits for low scores."
3) Blame the Curriculum "If we want to improve mathematics education, we should banish nonsensical curricula like Trail Blazers, Everyday Math and Investigations and make sure that our teachers are properly educated and proficient in math content."