Drexel dragonThe Math ForumDonate to the Math Forum



Search All of the Math Forum:

Views expressed in these public forums are not endorsed by Drexel University or The Math Forum.


Math Forum » Discussions » Education » math-teach

Topic: Discussion: Do US Math Teachers Suck?
Replies: 31   Last Post: Mar 28, 2012 4:52 PM

Advanced Search

Back to Topic List Back to Topic List Jump to Tree View Jump to Tree View   Messages: [ Previous | Next ]
Paul A. Tanner III

Posts: 5,920
Registered: 12/6/04
Re: Discussion: Do US Math Teachers Suck?
Posted: Mar 23, 2012 7:29 PM
  Click to see the message monospaced in plain text Plain Text   Click to reply to this topic Reply

On Fri, Mar 23, 2012 at 4:31 PM, Ken Abbott <abbottsystems@gmail.com> wrote:
> Does America leads the world in math education? Nope. The US is being kicked in the groin by China and most other countries. The USA is a joke in Math. I've travelled around and hear the jokes. Why is this? Is it because US Math teachers suck so bad? Or is it because US math students suck so bad? It has to be one or the other, because the US in Math is a world joke.
>


Let's look below the surface - let's dig deeper for what the truth
really is, shall we?

See what this conservative economist (Post-Doc at the University of
Chicago and a Research Fellow at the Institute of Industrial
Economics) has to say about what is actually going on with these
international comparisons:

"The amazing truth about PISA scores: USA beats Western Europe, ties with Asia."
http://super-economy.blogspot.com/2010/12/amazing-truth-about-pisa-scores-usa.html

Quote: "Once we correct (even crudely) for demography in the 2009 PISA
scores, American students outperform Western Europe by significant
margins and tie with Asian students."

In addition, note that PISA tests 15 year olds that may already be in
high schools in Europe, and if they are not, they immediately or
almost immediately go into high school. But in Europe, depending on
the country, fully half to two thirds of the student population goes
not into academic high schools but into vocational high schools,
depending on the country. All of US students go into academic high
schools. If fully half to two thirds of those European students taking
PISA are not in or going into vocational high schools, then the
distribution of those representing those countries are unfairly skewed
toward their top one half to one third of their student populations,
which is an unfair comparison to those representing the US, which
represent the entire US student population and is not skewed toward
the top one half to one third of the US student population.

The conservative Heritage Foundation points out that the US public
school system is doing a good job educating roughly 60% of the US
student population, this 60% measures third best in the world in
reading on PISA:

http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2011/04/The-Myth-of-Racial-Disparities-in-Public-School-Funding

Quote:

"If white American students were counted as a separate group, their
PISA reading score would rank them third in the world."

[3] U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education
Statistics, "PISA 2009," Tables R1 and R3,
athttp://nces.ed.gov/pubs2011/2011004_1.pdf (April 1, 2011). The U.S.
as a whole is not included when ranking each American ethnic group.

[Note: Non-Hispanic white students make up about 60% of the US student
population.]

"TIMSS Results Place Massachusetts Among World Leaders in Math and Science"
http://www.doe.mass.edu/news/news.aspx?id=4457

Quote:

"In math, the state's eighth graders scored 547, ranking sixth behind
Chinese Taipei (598), Republic of Korea (597), Singapore (593), Hong
Kong SAR (572), and Japan (570).

"Massachusetts has a long history of success with education reform and
the academic achievement of students," said Education Secretary Paul
Reville. "Our students have consistently performed at the highest
levels on many national measures and now we have confirmation that
many are prepared according to an international measure. Our task now
is to transform our public education system so that all students
receive the education, support and guidance they need to improve their
achievement and acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to prepare
them for higher education and an ever-evolving workforce."

...

Other findings include:
* Massachusetts 8th graders made significant gains in math and science
performance on TIMSS between 1999 and 2007. In math, the state's 8th
graders improved by 34 points, from 513 in 1999 to 547 in 2007. In
science, 8th graders scored 23 points higher in 2007 (556) than in
1999 (533). There are no trend results for the state's 4th graders.
* In grade 8 science, 20% of Massachusetts students met the Advanced
Benchmark, behind Singapore (32%) and Chinese Taipei (25%). In math,
16% of the state's 8th graders scored Advanced, behind Chinese Taipei
(45%), the Republic of Korea (40%), Singapore (40%), Hong Kong SAR
(31%), and Japan (26%)."

And see this:

"Highlights From TIMSS 2007:
Mathematics and Science Achievement of U.S. Fourth-
and Eighth-Grade Students in an International Context"
http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2009/2009001_suptables.pdf

See Table E-14 for the mean 4th and 8th grade mathematics scores of
the non-Hispanic white students from the US:

For 4th grade: It is 550. This is higher than the mean score of every
last non-East-Asian country in the world that took TIMSS in 2007.

For 8th grade: It is 533. This is higher than the mean score of every
last non-East-Asian country in the world that took TIMSS in 2007.

See Table E-33 for the mean 4th and 8th grade science scores of the
non-Hispanic white students from the US:

For 4th grade: It is 567. This is higher than the mean score of every
last non-East-Asian country in the world that took TIMSS in 2007.

For 8th grade: It is 551. This is higher than the mean score of every
last non-East-Asian country in the world that took TIMSS in 2007.

Finally, consider the research study I keep citing published in 2000.
They found that even those who failed their AP Calculus test are
getting as much or better training in advanced math than those
advanced math students in all those countries that took the TIMSS
Advanced math test in both 1995 and 2008, including the highest
scoring countries:

"How Well Do Advanced Placement Students Perform on the TIMSS Advanced
Mathematics and Physics Tests?"
http://apcentral.collegeboard.com/apc/public/repository/ap01.pdf.ti_7958.pdf

See pages 11 and 15. It shows that even those AP Calculus students in
that study who failed their AP Calculus exam with only a score of 1 or
2 still had a higher scaled score on this retake of the TIMSS Advanced
math test than even the highest scoring country in either the 1995 or
2008 TIMSS Advanced math test. These US students in that study who
failed their AP Calculus exam with only a 1 or 2 still had such high
levels of advanced mathematics knowledge and understanding and skill
that they scored 565 on that TIMSS Advanced math test. The students
who took the test for France in 1995 had the highest score in 1995 on
the TIMSS Advanced Math test with a score of 557, and the students who
took the test for Russia in 2008 had the highest score in 2008 on the
TIMSS Advanced Math test with a score of 561. Here is the proof of
this fact that even those who failed their AP Calculus exams were
still so well educated in advanced math:

Exhibit 5: Average Achievement of AP Calculus Students in Advanced
Mathematics by Results AP Calculus Examinations:

Less than 3 on AP Calculus AB 565 (TIMSS Advanced math average score)
3 or better on AP Calculus AB 586 (TIMSS Advanced math average score)
Less than 3 on AP Calculus BC 564 (TIMSS Advanced math average score)
3 or better on AP Calculus BC 633 (TIMSS Advanced math average score)

That is, the AP Calculus students in this study who failed their AP
Calculus exams had slightly better math knowledge and understanding
and skill than the average advanced math student that took either the
1995 or 2008 advanced math test from even the highest scoring country.
Those who passed their AP Calculus exams scored very much higher. This
is VERY significant in terms of how well educated those US students
that take the AP Calculus tests are educated in advanced math.

This 2000 study used exactly the same sampling techniques used by the
countries in the TIMSS Advanced math test. What this means is that
even if the true average level of all those who take and pass or fail
their AP Calculus exam is not quite this high, this study shows that
it is still the case that those who take AP Calculus exams and
especially pass them are still getting a math education that is
statistically comparable to the average students of the best scoring
countries in the world in TIMSS Advanced in both the 1995 and 2008
tests, which is very significant because of the percentages.

What do I mean by the percentages? This is what I mean:

The countries that scored highest in the TIMSS Advanced math and
science test of 2008 were Russia and Netherlands. But they sent
students that represented only the top roughly one and a half percent
and three and a half percent respectively of their entire high school
senior aged populations (and this includes all those of that age not
in school). And they still scored lower than the US students who took
that TIMSS Advanced retest, including even those who failed their AP
Calculus tests. Those who took an AP Calculus test in 2010 represented
roughly 7.5% of the entire high school senior aged population (and
this includes all those of that age not in school) of the US in 2010
(roughly 320,000 took a test). Those who passed represented roughly
4.6% (roughly 200,000 passed). That is, by that 2000 study, we can
expect that our roughly top 7.5% (those who took an AP Calculus exam)
would have scored as well or better or even much better than their
roughly 1.5% and 3.5%, and we can expect that our roughly top 4.6%
(those who passed an AP Calculus exam) would have compared even that
much better.

(If there exists another country in the world outside of possibly
those four East Asian countries of Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and
Singapore that would do better than this in terms of how large a
percentage of the entire population of that age that would score this
well on such tests like TIMSS Advanced or especially an AP Calculus
exam, then name that country. Note: That country would not be China,
since at least half of that country still lives in third world
conditions. Those who are from China in those international tests for
[for 8th graders] TIMSS and [for 15 year olds] PISA are cherry picked
from the best school districts in the country, Hong Kong and Shanghai.
But note that performance for these Chinese students falls off for
even the next best school district, Macau, on these international
tests - but we never hear about that. In addition, after the very high
results from Shanghai on PISA, President Hu Jintao said that the world
should not expect the same high results as more and more of China is
represented on these tests. By all the above data, if the US were
allowed to cherry pick like this, the US would be very much in the
very top rank at the top of the world.)


Date Subject Author
3/23/12
Read Discussion: Do US Math Teachers Suck?
Ken Abbott
3/23/12
Read Re: Discussion: Do US Math Teachers Suck?
Paul A. Tanner III
3/24/12
Read Re: Discussion: Do US Math Teachers Suck?
Clyde Greeno @ MALEI
3/26/12
Read Re: Discussion: Do US Math Teachers Suck?
kirby urner
3/26/12
Read Re: Discussion: Do US Math Teachers Suck?
kirby urner
3/26/12
Read Re: Discussion: Do US Math Teachers Suck?
Robert Hansen
3/26/12
Read Re: Discussion: Do US Math Teachers Suck?
Haim
3/26/12
Read Re: Discussion: Do US Math Teachers Suck?
Robert Hansen
3/27/12
Read Re: Discussion: Do US Math Teachers Suck?
Louis Talman
3/27/12
Read Re: Discussion: Do US Math Teachers Suck?
Robert Hansen
3/27/12
Read Re: Discussion: Do US Math Teachers Suck?
Louis Talman
3/27/12
Read Re: Discussion: Do US Math Teachers Suck?
Robert Hansen
3/28/12
Read Re: Discussion: Do US Math Teachers Suck?
Louis Talman
3/28/12
Read Re: Discussion: Do US Math Teachers Suck?
Robert Hansen
3/28/12
Read Re: Discussion: Do US Math Teachers Suck?
Louis Talman
3/27/12
Read Re: Discussion: Do US Math Teachers Suck?
Clyde Greeno @ MALEI
3/27/12
Read Re: Discussion: Do US Math Teachers Suck?
Robert Hansen
3/28/12
Read Re: Discussion: Do US Math Teachers Suck?
Louis Talman
3/27/12
Read Re: Discussion: Do US Math Teachers Suck?
Robert Hansen
3/28/12
Read Re: Discussion: Do US Math Teachers Suck?
Louis Talman
3/27/12
Read Re: Discussion: Do US Math Teachers Suck?
Robert Hansen
3/27/12
Read Re: Discussion: Do US Math Teachers Suck?
Haim
3/27/12
Read Re: Discussion: Do US Math Teachers Suck?
Robert Hansen
3/27/12
Read Re: Discussion: Do US Math Teachers Suck?
kirby urner
3/28/12
Read Re: Discussion: Do US Math Teachers Suck?
kirby urner
3/27/12
Read Re: Discussion: Do US Math Teachers Suck?
Domenico Rosa
3/27/12
Read Re: Discussion: Do US Math Teachers Suck?
Robert Hansen
3/27/12
Read Re: Discussion: Do US Math Teachers Suck?
Dave L. Renfro
3/27/12
Read Re: Discussion: Do US Math Teachers Suck?
Domenico Rosa
3/27/12
Read Re: Discussion: Do US Math Teachers Suck?
Haim
3/28/12
Read Re: Discussion: Do US Math Teachers Suck?
Haim
3/28/12
Read Re: Discussion: Do US Math Teachers Suck?
Robert Hansen

Point your RSS reader here for a feed of the latest messages in this topic.

[Privacy Policy] [Terms of Use]

© Drexel University 1994-2014. All Rights Reserved.
The Math Forum is a research and educational enterprise of the Drexel University School of Education.