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American Science Education in Its Global and Historical Contexts

Abstract

"In 2009, students in Shanghai topped their peers around the world in math, science, and reading scores on the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), a test administered to 15-year-olds in 65 countries, while American schoolchildren placed near the middle of the group (OECD 2010). The release of the disappointing PISA results (and other international comparisons) has been a source of national angst and the stimulus for rapid policy response in many countries (see, e.g., Engel et al. 2012; Feuer 2012), and prompted a wave of alarm in the United States: Why did American children not fare better? What could be done to improve results? Secretary of Education Arne Duncan referred to the results as 'a wake-up call' (Dillon 2010), and a USA Today (2010) headline announced, 'In ranking, US students trail global leaders.' "

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