Sent to Education Week, June 24, 2015
I list here Christopher Cross’ claims in his column,”How to Confront America’s International Skills Gap,” (June 24, 2015) and my responses to each.
1. Claim: American students score lower than many other countries on tests of literacy.
Response: Study after study has shown that when we control for poverty, American students do quite well on international tests.
2. Claim: According to a study done by OECD, Americans with graduate degrees do worse on international tests than those with graduate degrees in other countries.
Response: The report showed that Americans with MA’s and research degrees do not do as well as some others on the PIAAC numeracy scale. The report did not indicate what field that MA was in. Even so, only MA holders in three countries (out of 17) did significantly better than American MA degree holders.
3. Claim: Companies are unable to find qualified employees, especially in high-tech fields.
Response: Several studies have reported that there is a surplus of scientifically trained job candidates, not a shortage.
4. Claim: The solution to these problems is to not abandon higher standards and accountability.
Response: Even if these problems were real, there is no evidence that higher standards and more tests lead to greater achievement.

Stephen Krashen

Original article: How to Confront America’s International Skills Gap


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