at Level 3, which he described as only one-third to one-half of that for the top scoring countries on the assessment.6

To exemplify the types of skills that are assessed, he described one of the items that was administered to the 15-year-olds taking the assessment. The item presented students with a map in which six fictional towns were noted (Kado, Lapat, Angaz, Megal, Piras, and Nuben), and a mileage legend that indicated the road distance of the towns from each other. The item presented students with two tasks:

1. Calculate the shortest distance by road between Nuben and Kado.

2. Zoe lives in Angaz. She wants to visit Kado and Lapat. She can only travel up to 300 kilometers in any one day but can break her journey by camping overnight anywhere between towns. Zoe will stay for two nights in each town so that she can spend one whole day sightseeing in each town. Show Zoe’s itinerary by completing the following table to indicate where she stays each night.

Day      Overnight Stay
1      Camp site between Angaz and Kado
2  
3  
4  
5  
6  
7      Angaz

Fuchs said that the sample item was one of the more complicated items on the assessment and was classified as a Level 3 item. Given that few of the U.S. students scored at a Level 3, most U.S. students would not have been able to answer this question correctly.

During discussion sessions, participants commented that the workshop was being held at an opportune time. Several commented about two reform movements currently underway. First, the National Gover-

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6Results from more recent administrations of PISA are similar. For results from the 2006 assessment, see the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (2007) PISA 2006: Science Competencies for Tomorrow’s World Executive Summary, available at http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/15/13/39725224.pdf [July 2011]. For results from the 2009 assessment, see the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (2010), PISA 2009 Results: Executive Summary, available at http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/34/60/46619703.pdf [July 2011]. Also see, ACT (2011) Affirming the Goal, available at http://www.act.org/research/policymakers/pdf/AffirmingtheGoal.pdf [July 2011].



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