TWO EDUCATION SYSTEMS 5
Japanis the country that ranks higher than the United States in almost allthe aspects of the PISA study of 2003. The study ranks countries onhow students perform in mathematics basically in four mina areas:space and shape scale, change and relationships scale, the quantityscale, and the uncertainty scale (Lemke, Sen, Pahlke, Partelow,Miller, Williams, & Jocelyn, 2004). The report also indicateshow student performance ranges across male and female students in theOECD countries and also all countries. The findings indicate Japanscoring higher than the United States. For instance, the UnitedStates had 12.1% of students scoring below 358 score points. This wasabove the OECD average of 10.6%. Japan, on the other hand, had only4.4% of its math students scoring below 358 score points. The sametrend continues in the remaining aspects of math. The overallperformance of U.S. students ranks below that of Japan in Math,science, and reading. Japan had a mean performance of 534 pointswhile the United States had 483 points. Japan’s reading cultureand the emphasis on science is the most likely reason the countryranks higher than the United States in the PISA scores.
Theabove PISA scores notwithstanding, the United States is more likelythan Japan to educate all citizens. The PISA statistics and the levelof diversity in both countries project the United States morepositively than Japan. The United States had a lower differencescore between girls and boys in mathematics at 6%, while Japan at 8%.The scores show that girls are likely to perform just as boys in theUnited States than in Japan (Gonzales, Guzmán, Partelow, Pahlke,Jocelyn, Kastberg, & Williams, 2004). However, both countriesare above the OECD average of 11 points. When other factors such asthe program the students enroll were incorporated, the United Statesstill had a smaller difference than the Japan at 10% and 11%respectively. Considering that the United States has a higher numberof diverse races than Japan, the PISA results from 2003 have beenright in projecting in the United States as the country likely toeducate all citizens than Japan regardless of the latter’s betterperformance in student proficiency in mathematics, reading andscience.
Ananalysis of the proportion of GDP spending on education shows thatthe United States spends more than Japan on citizens in the educationinstitution (Thomson, Cresswell, & De Bortoli, 2004). The UnitedStates spent 5.3% of its GDP on Education while Japan spent 3.5% inthe same year. The caveat to any conclusions based on these PISAstatistics alone should be the destination of the resources investedby each of the two countries. The United States spent moreinfrastructural development in institutions while Japan invested morein paying school teachers. The difference is that The United Statesspent less in developing the educational human resource than Japan. The outcome is the latter getting the most value of its investment ineducation than the former. This explains why Japan has the highestpost-secondary achievement rate than Japan other than the strongeducational culture in the latter.
Onemay like to teach in Japan rather than the United States for severalreasons. Statistics from the PISA show that the United States hasthe highest cumulative expenditure for every student. However, theUnited States still posted a lower score of 481 points than Japan at531. As mentioned above, Japan invests more in the teacher who iscritical for the outcome of all educational endeavors.
PISA’sresults are reliable due to several reasons. Firstly, tests ofscientific literacy, math, and science consider the interests andunique backgrounds of students. Secondly, the classroom interventionsand projects are carried out in a context-based manner. These twofactors provide a real-life link to PISA’s empirical data since2000.
Gonzales,P., Guzmán, J. C., Partelow, L., Pahlke, E., Jocelyn, L., Kastberg,D., & Williams, T. (2004). Highlights from the Trends inInternational Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), 2003. NCES2005-005. USDepartment of Education.
Lemke,M., Sen, A., Pahlke, E., Partelow, L., Miller, D., Williams, T., …& Jocelyn, L. (2004). International Outcomes of Learning inMathematics Literacy and Problem Solving: PISA 2003 Results From theUS Perspective. Highlights. NCES 2005-003. USDepartment of Education.
Thomson,S., Cresswell, J., & De Bortoli, L. (2004). Facing the future: Afocus on mathematical literacy among Australian 15-year-old studentsin PISA 2003.