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The Meaning of PISA

Education Week (12/05/13) Tucker, Marc

There needs to be a new mass system for public education, and National Center on Education and the Economy President Marc Tucker says the Common Core State Standards are the best option to establish expectations of teachers, parents, and students that are high enough for U.S. students to succeed in an increasingly competitive world. The decline of the United States on the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) can be reversed through greater investment in helping "harder-to-educate students." Tucker says other nations that have become high achievers on PISA have ensured young children and their families have a lot of support before students arrive at school, recruited teachers from the most talented high school graduates, insisted that teachers master the subjects they will teach and spend a year mastering the craft of teaching, and provided an extended period of mentoring for new teachers under the supervision of master teachers. Other elements of their success, he says, include continuing education for existing teachers, demanding standards for the achievement of their students, developing a curriculum that matches those standards, and adopting high quality assessments based on that curriculum. Tucker also notes, "They strengthened their vocational and technical education systems and developed their applied learning systems to provide expanded opportunities for students to enter the adult world with confidence, skill, experiences, and connections that would enable them to become productive and fulfilled."
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