Statement from Michael Cohen on PISA Results

Tuesday, December 3, 2013Printer-friendly version

Washington, D.C. - December 3, 2013 - Achieve President Michael Cohen today issued the following statement today regarding the results on the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA):

"Unfortunately, the PISA results for 2012 still show that the United States is among the middle of the pack of developed nations. These results mirror the recently released results of the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), which show that the literacy and problem solving skills of young adults in our international peers are outpacing those of young adults here in the U.S. Considered together, these results are a powerful reminder that we must do more to challenge and prepare our students in order to remain globally competitive.

"Most U.S. states took an important step in this direction with the adoption of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). In fact, one of the reasons governors and state education chiefs came together to develop new standards was to have one set of educational benchmarks for K-12 that would resemble some of the highest achieving nations' standards. In mathematics alone, twelve sets of standards were selected to help guide the writing of the Common Core State Standards including: Belgium, Canada [Alberta], China, Chinese Taipei, England, Finland, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Japan, Korea, and Singapore. The CCSS reflect the best features of math standards in these countries. They are highly focused, providing the time for teachers to teach in depth. They demand procedural fluency, conceptual understanding, and the ability to apply mathematics to novel situations and real world problems.

"Those of us involved in developing the Common Core and the assessments that measure them know full well that standards, tests and accountability are not a silver bullet for preparing students to be ready for college and careers. High performing nations, and high performing U.S. states, develop and execute coherent approaches to education reform. We need equally powerful approaches to provide teachers with the respect, time, tools and opportunities to collaborate to improve instruction. We also need curriculum and instructional programs that effectively engage all students in learning. Going forward, we need to pay substantially more attention to these parts of the equation."

To see a full copy of the results from the 2012 PISA data collection, go to MEDIA CONTACT: Chad Colby (202) 419-1570, 

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