"A Second Look at TIMSS and PISA: The Strength of the US School System


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  • Speaker: Kai Cortina, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology
  • Host Department: Psychology
  • Date: 03/31/2014
  • Time: 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

  • Location: 4464 East Hall

  • Description:

    Abstract: International comparative student achievement studies like PISA and TIMSS are famous for their ranking of countries with respect to academic achievement of 15 year old around the globe. In this talk I want to demonstrate that these public domain data sets have more to offer for developmental scientists than documenting how “mediocre” the US fairs compared to East Asian countries.


    Drawing on modernization and convergence theory in education, I present comparative analyses that highlight the strengths of Western educational systems which are often forgotten – mainly because they are taken for granted.

    Bio: Kai S. Cortina is Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Michigan; the effect of schooling on psycho-social and cognitive development is the common denominator of his research projects spanning from studies on preschool curricula on learning motivation to research on the transition from school to work. He got his PhD in 1996 from the Free University in Berlin. Before coming to Michigan in 2000, he worked as a tenured research professor at the Max-Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin. He teaches multivariate and longitudinal methods and was part of several program evaluations. Among others, he is on the editorial board of the Journal of Educational Psychology, Elementary School Journal, and Organizational Research Methods.

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