Book Review: The Smartest Kids in the World and How They Got That Way by Amanda Ripley
Google knows everything. The world economy rewards people for what they can do with what they know. Read: The contact lens with a built-in telescope. The importance of education is instilled at a young age -- before children even get to primary school.
So when you have a very confident child, that child's confidence will carry him or her through primary school as well. Not only do you want a child that is smart, you want a child who is resilient. Schleicher says it's part of the culture of many Asian countries for parents to prioritize their children's education.
You can see in all tiers of public policy, education comes first. They knew what it felt like to fail, work harder and do better. They were prepared for the modern world.
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In the city of Wroclaw, Ripley meets up with Tom, a bookish teenager from Pennsylvania, and discovers yet another difference between the schools in top-performing countries and those in the United States. The question is whether the startling perspective provided by this masterly book can also generate the will to make changes. Book Review Likely to Succeed. Log In.
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In 8th grade math, Korea and Singapore are again at the top, scoring and , respectively, versus the international average of At the same grade, Finland scores only —statistically indistinguishable from the earned by the United States and a staggering 99 points below Korea. Though Ripley neglects to discuss the limits of her PISA litmus test in light of TIMSS scores or the concerns of Finnish math professors, there are some areas in which the book cites and comports with the relevant scientific research.
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It correctly notes, for instance, the lack of any consistent relationship between levels of per pupil spending on public school systems and the performance of their students. There are other cases, though, which are more problematic. Despite the narrow focus of that study, Ripley goes on to make broad claims and implications about student grouping practices, without examining what the literature has to say about them.
Why Singapore has the smartest kids in the world
For instance, Ripley writes that kids placed in gifted classes "at age eight probably tended to see themselves that way. When Kulik and Kulik reviewed the self-esteem effects of grouping students by ability they found that children placed in higher-performing classes came to think of themselves as less gifted while those placed in lower-level classes came to think of themselves more positively.
When surrounded by children who achieved at a level similar to their own, whatever that level happened to be, students came to realize that they were not so special after all. Lower achievers felt less stigmatized, while higher achievers were sobered by the presence of similarly capable peers. Nor does Ripley seem aware of the distinction that researchers have found between the permanent, across-the-board tracking studied by Hanushek and Woessman and flexible grouping and re-grouping of students based on their performance in particular subjects, at particular times.
In reality, targeting the content and rate of instruction to students grouped by performance shows some of the most powerful positive effects in the education literature.
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