The Smartest Kids in the World and How They Got that Way

Length: 895 words

The Smartest Kids in the World and How They Got that Way soda 122 The Threat of the “Smartest” Soda Run America Is a country that currently spends more money on public education per student than any other nation in the world; nevertheless, these good Intentions have achieved only slight positive outcomes. For instance, in PISA (Programmer for International Student Assessment), an authoritative test used to measure the education levels of students from 53 countries, American students ranked 12th in reading, 17th in science, and 26th in math.

No doubt, a question like this one has been argued for decades ” what exactly is happening in foreign countries that allows them to out-pass America in terms of academics? ” The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way is an illuminating book by Amanda Ripley that answers the question by showing how other countries educate their kids in a much more effective way than we do. Amanda Ripley, a gifted writer who has done feature stories for Time Magazine and the Atlantic, has a new tough task to conqueror.

In order to discover the secret path o education success, Ripley travels to three particular countries that earned remarkable honors in international tests: South Korea, Finland, and Poland. She collects information from a broad range of participants in the education systems including three American exchange students who could pierce harder and dig deeper through the glossy surface of the leading schools guiding us to their top secrets. Then, of course, Ripley finds a few key things that are enlightening in bettering our education system.

The first component she considers Is rigor. In Korea, Eric attended a high school called Mans, In the city of Abuse. There, students literally spend their every waking second studying. From 8 focal In the morning to 11 o’clock at night (and beyond they take classes, nap and eat at school, and then they transfer themselves to private tutoring schools known as wagons. Because they are facing the fierce competition where only the top 2% of students can get accepted into a few of the best universities in Korea, students have to work extremely hard to win a prosperous future.

Fortunately, the culture of working hard on the part of students is indeed so effective that Korea ranked the second in PISA in 2009. The second contributor to success is the role of teachers. Finland ranked 1st in PISA in 2009, but Finnish students achieved these glorious results without studying obsessively Like Korean students. Fenland’s education success appears to derive from its highly qualified teachers. This country has only 8 accredited teachers’ colleges and only 20% of applicants are accepted.

Once applicants are accepted Into a Flannels searchers’ college, the rigorous teacher-training program usually will last 6 years finishing a master’s degree. Compared with Finland, Ripley explains, “at most U. S. Colleges, education was known as one of the easiest majors… Once students got there, they were rewarded with high grades and relatively easy work. Instead of taking the more rigorous mathematics classes offered to other students, for example, education majors tended to take special math classes designed for students who did not like math”(Page 108).

The difference between American teacher training and Finnish teacher training is significant and worth noting. A principle always obeyed in the education-geek world is that well-trained teachers lead to better performing students who could become top teachers in the future. Another difference she found is testing methods. The level of expectations for Polish students is higher than it is in America. In addition, the high standards are constantly checked by tests that can reveal students’ future prospects. Tom is an exchange student from Pennsylvania who studies in Poland.

In Tom’s Polish math class, unlike he American math class, no Polish students are allowed to use calculators to do math. Polish students are trained to be good at calculating Just like it is mentioned in the book: “Tom could tell the kids were doing a lot of the math in their minds… Their brains were freed up to do the harder work. It was the difference between being fluent in a language and not”(Page 92). After every test, teachers biblically announce students’ grades from a 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest). Tom expected to see someone getting a 5 for a year but no one ever did. Success,’ as Winston Churchill once said, ‘is going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm. ‘ “(Page 92) Kids in Poland have gotten used to failing, but instead of giving up; Polish kids give themselves a boost in academic performance. In 2000, “Polish fifteen-year-olds ranked twenty-first in reading and twentieth in math, below the United States and below average for the developed world. ” But after some reforms that included raising the educational standards, Poland “ranked thirteenth in reading and eighteenth in tat, Just above the United States in both subjects.

In the space of three years, Poland had caught up with the developed world”(Page 165). It is intriguing to see how other cultures do better in something than we do; however, it would be worth asking whether or not we can learn something and then improve ourselves after being wowed by the remarkable contrast this book discusses. If the treasure map is right in sight, what needs to be done next is to take the first step. That’s one small step in improving test performance, but a giant leap for American students’ future.

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