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Reading, Math, and Science in the G-8

Those who can't get enough international school data may be interested in a newly released study that provides comparisons of academic performance, instruction, teacher training, and school spending in the Group of Eight Nations, including the United States. Released by the Institute of Education Sciences, the report pulls together a lot of previously published information collected through three international exams, PISA, TIMSS, and PIRLS, as well as other sources.

Those interested in particular content areas, such as reading, math, and science, could find some of the study's data intriguing. Here's a taste:

In reading, the United States had the highest percentage of 4th grade teachers who reported spending more than six hours per week on instruction, higher than England, France, Germany, Russia, Italy, and Scotland. Sixty-eight percent of teachers reported meeting this threshold in the United States, compared with just 6 percent in Germany. (See Figure 14) Anybody out there who's studied this data who can explain these numbers?

In Russia, which scored higher than the United States on the 4th grade international reading test, PIRLS, only 28 percent of teachers reported spending six or more hours on reading instruction—though a large percentage, 60 percent, said they devoted at least 3-6 hours to the subject.

There are also breakdowns of time spent by teachers in math and science professional development; the academic performance of native-born students and immigrants; teacher salaries; and the frequency of behavior problems, by country, along with many other pieces of data. You can read the full study here.

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