Understanding China, One Blog at a Time

An American in China

Proof Shanghai PESA Exam Scores Do Not Represent China

Posted by w_thames_the_d on December 20, 2013

China will do anything to save face, lying or gaming the system is their favorite trick.


For the second time in a decade, 15-year-olds in Shanghai have scored at the top of the PISA global education assessment, ranking number one in the world in reading, math and science.

The Chinese city has a top performing system thanks in part to the strong drive and self-belief of its students, says OECD special advisor on education policy — and PISA survey head — Andreas Schleicher.

“In Shanghai, you have nine out of ten students telling you, ‘It depends on me. If I invest the effort, my teachers are going to help me to be successful,'” Schleicher tells me during a taping of CNN’s “On China” on location in the city.

The Shanghai exam results have come under fire for shutting out the city’s migrant children and not being representative of the city’s total student population — something the OECD refutes.

triumph?But one thing is for certain. The results are not representative of a nation. China as a whole does not take the PISA exam. Data on a number of Chinese cities and provinces is not yet published by PISA. China as a whole is expected to be included in the 2015 assessment.

Data from the Rural Education Action Program (REAP) at Stanford University in the United States provides a stark picture of how Shanghai’s education success is not repeated in China’s less wealthy, rural interior.

While 84% of high school grads in Shanghai go to college,less than 5% of China’s rural poor make it to university.

High school attendance is just 40% in poor, rural areas of China.

And as they struggle with poverty and debate the opportunity cost of simply going to class, a significant number of rural students start dropping out in middle school.



One Response to “Proof Shanghai PESA Exam Scores Do Not Represent China”

  1. change said

    the education system in europe is the best in the world. far better than in the usa. how ridiculous the chinese are. their system is something between a zoo and a garbage dump. and at the same time they try to get into europe. but because we don’t speak english here, they turn to anglosaxon countries. have fun usa.

    china are like locusts. all they do is eating up resources and giving nothing back. they are a useless species. they will end up badly very soon.

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