International comparative studies in mathematics education: are we obsessed with the international rankings of measured educational outcomes?

Tsung-Lung Tsai, Hui Chuan Li

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Over the past few decades, researchers, policy makers, educators and the general public, who have an interest in mathematics education in different countries, pay a great deal of attention to the results from international comparative studies. Of great interest to the international studies is the results of Eastern students consistently achieving higher marks among the participating countries. In recent years, we have seen a climate of intense global economic competition and a growing belief in the key role of education, which have persuaded governments to become increasingly obsessed with the international rankings of measured educational outcomes. Accordingly, educational policy is increasingly driven by national attempts to “copy” the perceived advantage associated with the educational strategies and techniques of other countries. In this note, we present a discussion of the benefits and criticisms of one of these international comparative studies: Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) studies. In so doing, we attempt to call attention to a continuously growing culture of “teaching to the test” in mathematics education.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1262-1267
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology
Volume48
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Nov 17

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Mathematics Education
Comparative Study
ranking
Ranking
Education
mathematics
education
Teaching
mathematics studies
Climate
Students
science studies
Economics
educational policy
criticism
climate
educator
trend
economics
student

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mathematics (miscellaneous)
  • Education
  • Applied Mathematics

Cite this

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abstract = "Over the past few decades, researchers, policy makers, educators and the general public, who have an interest in mathematics education in different countries, pay a great deal of attention to the results from international comparative studies. Of great interest to the international studies is the results of Eastern students consistently achieving higher marks among the participating countries. In recent years, we have seen a climate of intense global economic competition and a growing belief in the key role of education, which have persuaded governments to become increasingly obsessed with the international rankings of measured educational outcomes. Accordingly, educational policy is increasingly driven by national attempts to “copy” the perceived advantage associated with the educational strategies and techniques of other countries. In this note, we present a discussion of the benefits and criticisms of one of these international comparative studies: Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) studies. In so doing, we attempt to call attention to a continuously growing culture of “teaching to the test” in mathematics education.",
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