Tom Loveless says U.S. students have never scored in the top ranks of educational achievement internationally, and the latest results, while improved, show U.S. scores in the middle range once again. He discusses data from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and the emphasis that American culture places on non-academic pursuits that consume so much time for American schoolchildren, including part-time work, socializing and sports.
Esther Care, an education expert at the Brookings Institution, calls the A-F grading system “nonsense.” “Grades are mere proxies for what we value. What we actually value is our children being prepared for the future,” she said. “We need to find ways in educational assessment to convey information about the degree to which they are ready to venture out and to deal constructively with the huge challenges posed by our 21st century.