The late, arguably suicided, William Casey, Director of Central Intelligence's 1st address to his staff in 1981
NSF Physics study
Norway boys = 594
Sweden boys = 589
Russia boys = 575
Slovenia boys = 546
Norway girls = 544
Germany boys = 542
Denmark boys = 542
Sweden girls = 540
Australia boys = 532
Swiss boys = 529
Russia girls = 509
Cyprus boys = 509
Latvia boys = 509
Canada boys = 506
Czech boys = 503
Denmark girls = 500
Greek boys = 495
NSF boys = 494
Australia girls = 490
Germany girls = 479
France boys = 478
Cyprus girls = 470
Greek girls = 468
Latvia girls = 467
Canada girls = 459
NSF girls = 453
Slovenia girls = 450
France girls = 450
Swiss girls = 446
US boys = 439
Czech girls = 419
US girls = 405
What would you guess would be the gap in SD between U.S. girls, and Norway boys? [note that the average Canadian boy scored 18 points higher than our top of the line NSF boys]
The dumbing down of those selected to participate in NSF
physics is working just as planned. Compared to NSF physics students who are
assigned physics homework once or twice a week (who score 455), students in
Switzerland and Canada who aren't even taking physics score almost as high, if
not higher (452 and 463, respectively). And students in Austria, the Czech
Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Latvia, Norway, Russia, Slovenia, Sweden,
and Switzerland, who are assigned physics homework less than once a week, score
from 20 to 140 points higher. And NSF physics students who are assigned homework
3 or more times per week, and score 505, score lower than students who are
assigned physics homework less than once a week, like Australia (by 24 points),
Canada (by 30 points), Germany (by 2 points), Norway (by 94 points), Russia (by
49 points), Slovenia (by 54 points), and Sweden (by 64 points). We might say
that because NSF students who are assigned physics homework 3 or more times per
week score 50 points higher than those who are assigned it only once or twice
per week, that this additional homework helps. The problem is that these
coddled, dedicated NSF physics students are outperformed by just about every
other country at most of the four different classifications of homework
assignment.
A search of the NSF web site for the report "TIMSS Physics Achievement Comparison Study", a study which THEY funded, produces zero results. Not even the National Center for Education Statistics at the Department of Education web site, which hosts innumerable studies praising itself, contains a single reference to this study. A Google search produces only ONE copy of this study, so the following two web sites have now had this study posted for time immemorial:
http://fathersmanifesto.net/TIMSS_NSFPhysicsStudy99.pdf
http://eaja.net/Documents/TIMSS_NSFphysicsStudy99.pdf
Once you understand just how unbelievably poorly NSF students do in the physics achievement portion of this study you will know why it has been disappeared.
By what process could our education system, between 8th and 12th grade, reduce math skills of the average American boy by 58 points and of girls by 104 points while performance of boys in Norway *increased* 82 points and of girls in Norway by 22 points. This 186 point swing in the difference in math skills between Norwegian boys and American girls represents two or three standard deviations, on top of the 8 point difference which already existed at the 8^{th} grade level.
http://modeling.asu.edu/Evaluations/TIMSS_NSFphysicsStudy99.pdf
http://4brevard.com/choice/international-test-scores.htm
http://www.docstoc.com/docs/21055409/TIMSS-Physics-Achievement-Comparison-Study
The Original NSF Standard Grant which funded this study.
The less than 140 girls in the NSF Physics program who participated in 12^{th} grade TIMSS performed very poorly in TIMSS physics: 41 points lower than the *average*12^{th} grade girl in Cyprus, 34 points lower than the *average* girl in Greece, 13 points lower than Latvian girls, 68 points lower than Norwegian girls, 52 points lower than Russian girls, 62 points lower than Swedish girls, 19 points lower than Australian girls, 28 points lower than Danish girls, and 32 points lower than Slovenian girls. And of course compared to boys from all countries (*except* the US whose boys scored 9 points lower than NSF girls) they scored significantly lower than all others: 40 points lower than boys in the NSF physics program, 44 points lower than Canadian boys, 96 points lower than Cypriot boys, 59 points lower than Czech boys, 15 points lower than French boys,60 points lower than German boys, 70 points lower than Greek boys, 54 points lower than Latvian boys, 132 points lower than Norwegian boys, 109 points lower than Russian boys, 131 points lower than Swedish boys, 64 points lower than Swiss boys, 69 points lower than Australian boys, and 69 points lower than the international average.
Overall, the less than 300 NSF physics students who were selected in the US to take the TIMSS Mathematics and Science Literacy test DID score 39 points higher than the average US physics student (and 116 points higher than the average US student), but they scored 7 points lower than Canadian physics students, 4 points lower than German physics students, 71 points lower than Norwegian physics students, 77 Sweden, 31 Swiss, 23 Australian and Danish, and 5 points lower than the international average.
Iow, the average physics students from most European nations (and certainly ALL Asian nations, not one of which was represented in 12^{th} grade TIMSS) outperformed our very BEST NSF students, both male and female, by HUGE margins. Physics students from only a few countries scored lower than our very best top (less than) 300 NSF physics students: Cyprus scored 66 points lower, the Czech Republic scored 5 points lower (but this is not statistically significant), Austria scored 20 points lower, and Slovenia 24 points lower.
However, as low as it is, a score of 587 in "mathematics and science literacy" and 595 in "science literacy" is proof that the NSF physics students HAVE been taught the subjects, DO understand the terms, and SHOULD have been able to apply the principles to solving physics problems like those on "electricity and magnetism" where NSF physics students scored only 446, lower than any other country whose students took a physics course. It's significant that in this age of the semiconductor, sudents in Sweden score 124 points higher, in Norway 119 points higher, and in war-torn Slovenia 63 points higher (while our top NSF female physics student scores another 20 points lower).
Our very best NSF physics student, and in particular our very best female NSF physics student, can’t even begin to compete with the WORST physics students from more than a dozen Western European nations, and can barely keep up with a war-torn Slovenian who hardly has time to worry about physics instruction. It’s not like we have not been trying—our average physics student already takes between 3 to 5 hours of physics instruction per week, while students in the Czech Republic (with an equivalent score), Germany (43 points higher), Latvia, Sweden (116 points higher), and Switzerland (70 points higher), take less than 3 hours per week. Notably, the 43% of the NSF physics students who report that they take more than 5 hours of physics instruction score 26 points LOWER than the 6% of the NSF physics student who takes 3-4 hours per week AND than the 45% who take 4-5 hours per week. Clearly the NSF has selected not the best students, but possibly the worst, and attempted to make up for it by cramming physics down their throats, and failed worse than miserably.
The NSF could raise its average physics score by 26 points simply by eliminating almost half (42%) of the students from the program who evidently study endlessly but never are able to learn. If these half were replaced by Swedish students (two thirds of whom take less than 3 hours per week of physics instruction but score 579), not only would they raise their average score by 55 points (plus 26 points), but they would eliminate many frustrated teachers.
In relation to the amount of physics homework assigned to students, the lowest scoring NSF student is one who is assigned homework once or twice a week and scores 455, a score 8 points lower than a Canadian student and equivalent to a Swiss student who is not even taking physics.
How can it be explained that all of this additional, expansive, expensive, exhaustive, complete NSF physics instruction does nothing but produce students whose physics knowledge and skills aren’t even on par with so many non-physics students in so many other countries? Why would the 28% of NSF students who report that they are asked to apply science to everyday problems in *every* physics lesson score only 487, lower than students who are never asked to apply science to everyday problems in more than half the TIMSS countries, 78 points lower than Norwegian students who never do, and 110 points lower than Norwegian students who apply this only to “most lessons”?
Not only was the US score very low, but we were one of the Countries Not Satisfying Guidelines for Sample Participation Rates (See Appendix B for Details), evidently because we were unable to test 85% of our 12^{th} graders as TIMSS requires. Had we done that, our 12^{th} grade girls’ low physics score of 405 would have been even lower, perhaps even lower than 360.
“Although countries tried
very hard to meet the TIMSS sampling requirements, many
of them encountered resistance from
schools, teachers, and students, and thus did
not have the participation rates –
85% or higher for schools and for students both,
or a combined rate of 75% – specified
in the TIMSS guidelines. Obtaining a high
participation rate for secondary school
students is particularly challenging when
participation is voluntary, because these
students have many demands on their time.
Also, their educational situations may make testing
difficult; for example, in some
countries students are engaged in on-site
vocational training. The eight countries
shown in the second category in Table
1.1 followed procedures but were unable to
meet the TIMSS guidelines for sample
participation. Beyond the difficulty of encouraging
students to attend the testing sessions,
the five countries in the remaining two
categories encountered various obstacles in
implementing the prescribed methods
for sampling schools or students
within schools, usually because of the organization
of the education system. Because
Israel did not clearly document its procedures for
sampling schools, its achievement results
(unweighted) are presented in Appendix
D. Appendix B includes a full discussion of the
sampling procedures and outcomes
for each country.”
Question Number |
Multiple Choice? |
Percent Above Guess |
Statistically Significant? |
Boys Greater Than Girls by |
Statistically Significant? |
G1 |
yes |
0.0% |
no |
2.5% |
no |
2 |
yes |
34.8% |
31.8% |
10.1% |
7.1% |
3 |
yes |
25.5% |
22.5% |
-3.0% |
no |
4 |
yes |
-3.4% |
-0.4% |
9.0% |
6.0% |
5 |
yes |
30.0% |
27.0% |
12.7% |
9.7% |
6 |
yes |
23.0% |
20.0% |
17.9% |
14.9% |
7 |
yes |
-6.7% |
-3.7% |
8.8% |
5.8% |
8 |
yes |
-9.1% |
-6.1% |
3.3% |
0.3% |
9 |
yes |
-7.5% |
-4.5% |
-4.7% |
-1.7% |
10 |
yes |
-4.7% |
-1.7% |
4.5% |
1.5% |
11 |
no |
4.3% |
1.3% |
1.7% |
no |
12 |
no |
8.1% |
5.1% |
10.5% |
7.5% |
13 |
no |
7.3% |
4.3% |
9.2% |
6.2% |
14 |
no |
1.6% |
no |
5.7% |
2.7% |
15 |
no |
2.4% |
no |
7.2% |
4.2% |
16 |
no |
2.9% |
no |
1.0% |
no |
17 |
no |
12.3% |
9.3% |
-1.4% |
no |
18 |
no |
1.1% |
no |
1.4% |
no |
19 |
no |
0.0% |
no |
1.1% |
no |
H1 |
yes |
17.0% |
14.0% |
-4.1% |
-1.1% |
2 |
yes |
13.9% |
10.9% |
-0.4% |
no |
3 |
yes |
-2.4% |
no |
3.3% |
0.3% |
4 |
yes |
-2.2% |
no |
19.8% |
16.8% |
5 |
yes |
10.3% |
7.3% |
-2.8% |
no |
6 |
yes |
4.0% |
1.0% |
9.2% |
6.2% |
7 |
yes |
-15.7% |
-12.7% |
10.6% |
7.6% |
8 |
yes |
-10.3% |
-7.3% |
3.6% |
0.6% |
9 |
yes |
-5.5% |
-2.5% |
8.2% |
5.2% |
10 |
yes |
-14.1% |
-11.1% |
7.3% |
4.3% |
11 |
yes |
- |
- |
- |
- |
12 |
no |
6.2% |
3.2% |
9.9% |
6.9% |
13 |
no |
3.5% |
0.5% |
6.5% |
3.5% |
14 |
no |
1.3% |
no |
1.3% |
no |
15 |
no |
6.8% |
3.8% |
-0.3% |
no |
16 |
no |
1.8% |
no |
-0.5% |
no |
17 |
no |
0.8% |
no |
1.5% |
no |
18 |
no |
0.1% |
no |
1.4% |
no |
19A |
no |
6.0% |
3.0% |
5.5% |
2.5% |
19B |
no |
33.9% |
30.9% |
0.1% |
no |
http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=101814&org=NSF
Press Release 96-072
Interactive Math Makes for Active Learning in
Philadelphia
NSF Materials Challenge Urban Students, but the Decision to Use Them Is a Local One
November 20, 1996
This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.
Students who might not be expected to perform well in mathematics are beating the odds in the Philadelphia public schools -- passing challenging courses at rates 20 to 30 percent higher than their peers -- using materials developed with support from the National Science Foundation (NSF).
The successes are particularly striking at Ben Franklin High School, a typical inner city school where 62 percent of the 9th grade students enrolled in the Interactive Mathematics Program (IMP) passed math. The passing rate for students in traditional math courses hovers at 40 percent. Nearly 84 percent of the IMP students passed science as compared to 52 percent of other students.
Luther S. Williams, the head of NSF's education and human resources directorate, said the IMP results prove that the U.S. can achieve the national education goal of global preeminence in math and science despite U.S. students' middling performance on the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS).
A variety of education reform projects supported by the NSF, he pointed out, include a body of materials to effectively teach sophisticated math and science to students at all grade levels, regardless of their race or economic background.
But, Williams added, the IMP findings also confirm NSF's belief that effective education reform--based on national standards for math and science teaching--requires a national consensus on the goals of math and science education. NSF also believes that the U.S. educational system is a uniquely decentralized one when compared to other nations in the TIMSS study so the impetus to change must come from the state and local level.
"Simply put," Williams said, "the existence of exemplary and effective materials alone will not improve the odds of better practices and more learning by all students. The decision to use those materials rests with state and local educators."
The success of the IMP materials in Philadelphia is especially encouraging in light of the data contained in Pursuing Excellence, which reports that U.S. math teaching generally is devoid of challenging content. U.S. students perform at, rather than above, the international average in such mathematically dependent subjects as chemistry and physics.
Demonstrating a strong compatibility with the "best practices" of high-achieving nations in the TIMSS study, the IMP materials are designed to eliminate tracking, or the assignment of students to courses on the basis of perceived abilities. IMP materials change the way that math is taught so that in any given school year students may concurrently learn concepts from geometry, algebra, trigonometry, and discrete mathematics.
The IMP materials also develop a range of skills in various areas of math, including how to use math to communicate and how to use computers and graphing calculators--handheld devices put the calculating and graphical power of an early microcomputer into a student's hands--as mathematical tools.
Although designed primarily to improve math and science education, IMP instruction also appears to have a broader ripple effect on overall academic success, with 74 percent of the IMP students passing English, according to officials in Philadelphia, as compared with 52 percent of the students who take traditional math.
-NSF-
Media Contacts
Peter West, NSF (703) 292-8070
pwest@nsf.gov
Program Contacts
Daryl Chubin, NSF (703) 306-1521
dchubin@nsf.gov
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2010, its budget is about $6.9 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives over 45,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes over 11,500 new funding awards. NSF also awards over $400 million in professional and service contracts yearly.