My State’s wicked Smaht

So the sinkhole of liberal heathenism best known for annoying baseball fans, drunken Kennedy’s, drunken college kids, gay marriage, taxes and Good Will Hunting has one more trick up its sleeve.

Their students are really, really, really good at math and science.

And to say I couldn’t be prouder right now of the students and teachers in Massachusetts is something of an understatement.

Massachusetts students significantly outperformed their peers nationwide on a prestigious math and science exam, putting the state on an elite international tier, according to results released yesterday.

This was actually several days ago, because the article was published in the Boston Globe on Dec. 10. But I digress, it gets better.

In many cases, the state’s impressive showing on the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (conducted by Boston College) puts Massachusetts in the same league with Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore – academic heavyweights that have long made US policy-makers fearful of losing an economic competitive edge.

It also bodes well for the state as it tries to develop a more sophisticated workforce in the sciences and emerging technologies.

Oh snap.  Massachusetts actually enter their students as a country.  Minnesota did the same thing, presumably to not have Alabama and Mississippi bring them down (okay a bit obvious joke and not exactly a fair one at that, forgive me).

Of all the countries that took the exam, Massachusetts place second behind only Singapore.  They finished ahead of countries like Japan, China, India, Hong Kong, etc.  To go it alone as their own entity cost the state $600,000.

Rather than rest on it’s achievements, the state is looking for ways to improve even further.

While state education leaders and education advocates praised the results, they stressed the need for more academic improvement and continued investment in education, even as the state grapples with a weak economy and declining revenue. They pointed out that some nations still greatly exceed the state’s performance on the TIMSS and that those nations continue to ramp up academic rigor.

For instance, even though the state’s fourth-graders ranked fourth in math with a score of 572, Hong Kong topped the list with a score 35 points higher – a difference researchers considered statistically significant.

In other cases, a significantly larger number of students from Asian countries scored in the top tier of the test than those from Massachusetts.

Acknowledging the importance of rigorous education and then doing something about it possibly bodes well for the future of the state.  It’s economy is weak, though that’s not unexpected given national circumstances, and it’s revenues are also down statewide.  But the insistence that education is important regardless should give the rest of the country a compass point at which to start.

“This is a tribute to the work of the Commonwealth’s students, teachers, and administrators,” state Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester said in a telephone interview. “This is a validation of the educational reforms undertaken in the last decade-plus and the financial investment that was made.”

Unfortunately, the article never goes on to say, what specifically the state has done curriculum wise to achieve these results.  I want to know their game plan and yet the article never mentions specifics of what the state is doing better than the rest of the US.

Comments on this entry are closed.