Chinese students excel in global standardized testing

10:00, December 08, 2010      

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Chinese students outscored their counterparts abroad in a recent international standardized testing, in math, science and reading, according to the results of a recognized exam done by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Up to 5,100 15-year-olds in Shanghai were chosen as a representative cross-section of students to participate in the exam. Similar numbers of students from other countries including Singapore, the United States, Germany and France were also joining the exam.

Experts noted that the stellar academic performance of students in Shanghai was noteworthy, which has reflected China's rapid modernization, according to The New York Times on Tuesday. The results also appeared to reflect the culture of education in China, including greater emphasis on teacher training and more time spent on studying rather than extracurricular activities like sports.

The test, the Program for International Student Assessment, known as PISA, was given to 15-year-old students by OECD.

"I know skeptics will want to argue with the results, but we consider them to be accurate and reliable, and we have to see them as a challenge to get better," The New York Times quoted U.S Secretary of Education Arne Duncan as saying. "The United States came in 23rd or 24th in most subjects. We can quibble, or we can face the brutal truth that we're being out-educated.”

In math, the Shanghai students outperformed second-place Singapore, which has been seen as an educational superstar. The average math scores of American students put them below 30 other countries.

PISA scores are on a scale, with 500 as the average. Two-thirds of students in participating countries score between 400 and 600. On the math test last year, students in Shanghai scored 600, in Singapore 562, in Germany 513, and in the United States 487.

In reading, Shanghai students scored 556, ahead of second-place S. Korea with 539. The United States scored 500 and came in 17th, putting it on par with students in the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Germany, France and Britain.

In science, Shanghai students scored 575. In second place was Finland, where the average score was 554. The United States scored 502 — in 23rd place — with a performance
indistinguishable from Poland, Ireland, Norway, France and several other countries.

People's Daily Online

(Editor:梁军)

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