CI-MSU will provide podcasts of a series of video- and audio-based Chinese learning materials of both beginning-level and intermediate-level. All the materials are organized in coherent stories with language and culture explanations and are suitable to long-term systematic learning of Chinese. There will also be a series that focuses on the issues relevant to living, working and visiting China. This series can serve as a nice introduction of Chinese language and culture for those who want to prepare for their visit to China. Moreover, there will also be a series that is developed specifically for preschoolers and children. In addition to those existent materials, podcasts of adapted daily broadcasts from TV and radio stations will also be provided. Those podcast materials will be available in the coming month.
The idea that America was being harmed because its schools were not keeping up with those in other advanced nations emerged after Sputnik in 1957, took a firm hold on education policy when "A Nation at Risk" appeared in 1983, and continues today. Policy makers justify this concern by pointing to evidence showing that, for individuals within the U.S., higher test scores predict a number of important life advantages, such as going on to college and making more money as an adult. Since Sputnik, the evidence driving worries about the performance of U.S. schools have come primarily from a series of international achievement testing programs that started in 1964 with the First International Mathematics Study (FIMS). This was followed by the Second International Mathematics Study (SIMS), the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), and, most recently, the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). In this article, the author shows that for the U.S. and for the top dozen or so most-advanced nations in the world, standings in the league tables of international tests are worthless. There is no association between test scores and national success, and, contrary to one of the major beliefs driving U.S. education policy for nearly half a century, international test scores are nothing to be concerned about. America's schools, he asserts, are doing just fine on the world scene. (Contains 4 endnotes.)