I did the same thing I always do:
- I Googled stuff on the internet
- I read the stuff I found
- I used Apple's Grab thingie to pull charts out of a pdf file
In 1997 Norway reformed its curriculum.
The changes were sweeping:
- an extra year of schooling (compulsory education would now begin at age 6 instead of age 7)
- "Theme-based cross-subject projects should dominate the learning process (at least 60% of lecture time) " [our term for "theme-based cross-subject projects" would be "interdisciplinary," which lies at the heart of the middle school model]
- "Play should be given a central role in school, both as «free play» and as a dominant learning method for children aged 6-10"
- all constructivism all the time: "The traditional lecture auditory model of a classroom structure is definitively unsuitable in relation to the reform."
Combined with the generally weak Norwegian results from 1995 [before L97 reforms were put in place], a further decrease in 37 points is alarming. The TIMSS study in 1995 was carried out on two following grades, and the average advance during one grade was approximately 40 points. In other words, today’s pupils are placed nearly an entire school year behind the level in 1995.
Clearly, many countries score better in 2003 than they did in 1995 (figure 1.4). [including the U.S.!] ... Concerning Norway the decline seems almost catastrophic, especially in connection with the already weak Norwegian results in 1995.... In 2003 4th graders with the same age were tested, who have attended school one year more than the pupils tested in 1995. Thus the significant decrease is dramatic and unfortunate. To give an impression of how much a decline of 25 points actually represents, we point to the fact that in the 4th grade in the 1995 TIMSS report, one year’s schooling equalled on average about 60 points in improvement on the same scale. Put simply, our pupils in 2003 have attended school one more year, but still lie approximately half a year behind in their academic development compared to the situation 8 years earlier.
Norwegian reports from TIMSS and PISA 2003 (pdf file)
An extra year in school and the kids are half a year behind their counterparts in 1995.
This is why I get growly whenever someone suggests lengthening the school day and/or school year.
If they do that I'll have even less time to teach the real stuff at home.
Play as a dominant learning method ....