PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Elementary school students here learn about the human eye, while those in many other countries discuss the eye in 8th grade. It’s not that our kids are precocious. While our kids memorize parts of the eye, their peers in high performing countries learn how one sees by studying basic structure and photons.

In 2007, the average US fourth-grade science score was lower than those in Singapore, Taiwan, Hong King and Japan as reported in Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, known as TIMSS. In eighth grade, our students were outperformed by peers in nine countries—including England, Czech Republic and Hungary.

China ranked first in 2009, averaging 73 points more than American kids, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that more of our students lose interest in science before college. Of 1.5 million bachelor’s degrees in 2007, only 16% were in STEM areas—science, technology, engineering and math.

According to the Hechinger, we should be gaining student interest by going into depth with fewer topics with more rigor so that kids gain conceptual understanding.

Reported By Dr. Marciene Mattleman, KYW Newsradio

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