The Megaphone (Georgetown, Tex.), Vol. 82, No. 22, Ed. 1 Friday, March 18, 1988 Page: 4 of 12
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U.S. Students Trail Behind
Foreign Counterparts in Science
(CPS)— U.S. students trail
their foreign counterpart', in sci-
ence knowledge, placing almost
last in achievement test given in
17 nations, according to a major
Another report released last
week determined that most young
kids-regardless of country-be-
lieve the earth is flat.
The Second International Sci-
ence Study (ISS) found American
students in the fifth, ninth and
12th grades performed poorly
compared to students from other
countries. U.S. students, the ISS
found, finished last or almost last
in biology, physics, chemistry,
and other sciences.
In fact, many U.S. students
performed no better than if they
would have guessed the answers.
"I’m not surprised," said Dr.
Michael McCormick, the biology
department chairman at Montclair
State College (N.J.). "The United
States is ignorant in many areas
compared to other nations."
"The data paint a dismal pic-
ture of science education in the
United States today," said Bas-
sam Shakhashiri of the National
The study, conducted by the
International Association for the
Evaluation of Educational
Achievement, ranked U.S. fifth-
graders eighth among 15 coun-
tries in overall science knowl-
edge. Ninth-graders finished
15th out of 17 nations, while
American high school seniors en-
rolled in advanced science classes
finished last in tests administered
to more that 200,000 students in
7,500 schools worldwide between
1983 and 1986.
Children from Japan, Korea,
Holland, Hungary, England, and
Singapore generally recorded the
Although American educators
agree U.S. students are not re-
ceiving the science education
other nations provide, they’re
wary of the study itself.
"I’d like to see how it was
conducted," said Vincent Sindt,
the director of the University of
Wyoming Science and Math
Teaching Center. "If the test just
measured the quick recall of
facts, let ’em have it. If it was a
measure of how students think or
reason, then I’d be worried."
"There are a lot of statistical
problems," said McCormick.
Education in the United States, he
said, is mandatory, while other
nations don’t require all children
to attend school.
Consequently, all U.S. test-
takers were competing against
only the most academically tal-
ented students in foreign coun-
Still, there are those who say
American attitudes about educa-
tion have a lot to be desired. "In
some countries, education is a
special treat, a privilege that’s re-
spected," said McCormick.
THESE1N6S DON'T HAPPEN
Bt AWPENT! somebopy
HAD S0ME1WNG1D DO WITH .
If! SOMEBODY PUNNED \
Students Too Left-
Wing, Says Bork
Sindt cited low teacher
salaries end even selfish parents
"Some parents are more will-
ing to spend money on a new
color television than help provide
for their children’s education."
U.S. students, particularly at
the college level, see education as
a means towards a high-paying
career, without value of its won,
McCormick said "The desire to
get an education is limited in this
country. People get educated to
get money, not knowledge, and
so they’re not getting that broad
education other students do."
In a separate study, the
Smithsonian Institution found
that most children-at least until
they’re about 10 years old-be-
lieve the earth is flat.
Almost 50 percent of the U.S.
and Israeli 4th-grade children in
the Smithsonian study, which ap-
peared in the latest issue of
"Science and Children" maga-
zine, still believed in a flat earth.
The reason, study authors
Alan Lightman and Philip Sadler
theorized, had less to do with
bad schools than with the way
Children, they wrote, often
can’t reconcile "what they are
told about their world and what
they see with their own eyes."
After 4th grade, children seem
to have much less trouble grasp-
ing the concept of a round earth,
(CPS)— Still smarting from
his 1987 rejection as a U.S.
Supreme Court nominee, Robert
Bork las week charged American
students were more left-wing
"I have never seen a time in
America when university atti-
tudes varied so much from the
general public’s attitude," Bork,
who Tiow speaks regularly on
college campuses, said on a Ca-
ble News Network (CNN) tv
show March 4.
Bork, who credits his conver-
sion to conservatism to being up-
set by student politics during the
1960s, added that law schools-
which supplied many of the wit-
nesses who testified against
Bork’s nomination in the Senate-
also were far to the left of the
He told viewers of the Evans
and Novak" CNN show that he
was encouraged by the stirrings
of conservative law student
groups like the Federalist Society,
and hoped some of the society’s
members would go into teaching
at law schools where "they will
rectify the balance (with liberal
professors) if they can get jobs."
Study: Good Students
Good Paper Shufflers
(CPS)— It pays to be good at
shuffling paper, at least if you are
enrolled at a big campus.
The faster and more accu-
rately students at large schools
can complete paperwork tasks the
better grades they get, a new
study by a Dallas market research
firm has found.
On the other hand, it sug
gested students who lack paper-
work skills should attend smaller
colleges, carry a light course
load, learn to use computers,
word processors and calculators,
seek assistance from professors
and teaching assistants, and be
prepared to work harder than
At least those are the conclu-
sions of Dallas-based Aptitude
Inventory Measurement Service
(AIMS), which tracked the aca-
demic performance of 115 stu-
dents attending universities with
20,000 or more undergraduates
from 1981, until last year. The
participants took a series of apti-
tude tests that gauged their cleri-
Students lacking clerical tal-
ent, the study reports, make
sloppy errors such as transposing
numbers and misplacing decimal
points, especially under deadline
Half of those who scored
poorly on the AIMS’s test gradu-
ated from college with 2.0 or
lower grade point averages.
More than half the ex-students
who scored high marks on the
clerical tests graduated with 3.0
averages or better.
Students with poor clerical
skills who were tutored by AIMS
counselors, however, received
higher grades in school than their
counterparts who did not receive
AIMS suggests students with
poor paperwork skills attend a
small college instead of a univer-
sity, since classes tend to be
smaller and faculty members
TO DISCREDIT TV
SOMEBODY'S TRYING \
TO SAY I'M NOT FIT
TO BE PRESIDENT!
Reagan, Congress Set to
Clash on Civil Rights Bill
(CPS)— President Reagan In February, the U.S. Senate
o x* I THINK TM
would make it harder for colleges
to discriminate on the basis of
gender, race, age, or physical dis-
But Republican Senate leader
and presidential candidate Robert
Dole (R-Kan) warned Congress
probably would override the veto.
The controversy surrounds
Congress's effort to overturn the
U.S. Supreme Court's 1984 Grove
City College decision, in which
the court said laws prohibiting sex
discrimination applied only to the
specific program that directly got
Previously, whole campuses
had to prove they didn’t discrimi-
nate if just one of their programs
took federal funds.
entire colleges subject to anti-bias
laws, and the House approved it
But, as the bill was sent to the
White House for the President's
signature, presidential aide Gary
Bauer warned President Reagan
would veto it.
Reagan, Bauer explained, be-
lieved the bill gave the federal
government too much power over
colleges and states, which could
lose their federal funding if they
were found to discriminate.
In reply, Dole, on the cam-
paign trail, said there were enough
votes in Congress to override a
veto. Vetoes can be overridden of
two-thirds of the senators disagree
with the President.
Here’s what’s next.
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The Megaphone (Georgetown, Tex.), Vol. 82, No. 22, Ed. 1 Friday, March 18, 1988, newspaper, March 18, 1988; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth634721/m1/4/: accessed February 17, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Southwestern University.