Published Online: July 17, 2012
Published in Print: July 18, 2012, as Blogs of the Week

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U.S. Drops in Gauge of Global Innovation

The United States may be home to Facebook, Google, Apple, and taco shells made of Doritos, but according to a recent international study, our nation is becoming less innovative, at least compared to last year. After ranking 7th in 2011, the United States is 10th in this year's Global Innovation Index, a report published by Insead, an international business school, and the World Intellectual Property Organization, an agency of the United Nations.

The report ranks 141 nations on nearly 100 factors related to innovation. Switzerland and Sweden are ranked Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, for the second straight year. Rounding out the top five are Singapore, Finland, and the United Kingdom.

In K-12 education, the United States ranks 31st, owing to low rankings in education expenditures. It is 61st in pupil-to-teacher ratio in secondary education, at 13.8-to-1.

—Jason Tomassini


Schoolwork 'Too Easy,' According to Students

If perception is reality, a lot of schools are failing to challenge students, a Washington think tank concludes in a new report.

Drawing on a rich set of student-survey data, the Center for American Progress cites some alarming statistics in the report, released last week. Many students, it seems, find that their schoolwork is just too easy.

For example, a full 57 percent of 8th grade history students say their work is often or always too easy. The result is better for elementary math, but still cause for concern: Thirty-seven percent of 4th graders say their math work is often or always too easy.

"If students are going to succeed in the competitive global economy, they need to be exposed to a rigorous curriculum," write co-authors Ulrich Boser and Lindsay Rosenthal. "But many students believe their classwork is too easy."

The data come from background questionnaires of students in 2009-11 participating in the National Assessment of Educational Progress, known as "the nation's report card."

—Erik W. Robelen

Vol. 31, Issue 36, Page 13

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