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Topic: Mathematics reform
Replies: 27   Last Post: Jun 17, 1997 10:55 PM

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W Gary Martin

Posts: 55
Registered: 12/6/04
TIMSS and Mathematics reform
Posted: Jun 13, 1997 9:20 AM
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What do you all make of the TIMSS fourth grade data, showing great
improvements in the US international ranking in mathematics? Could the
Standards be at least partially responsible? The 1996 NAEP also shows solid
improvement over 1992, so this does not appear to be an isolated result
(which was my first reaction, given the abysmal 8th-grade TIMSS results).

My theory: Perhaps it is easier for change to take place in the lower
grades. Even minor adjustments away from memorizing tables of facts may
create significant changes in a large-scale study. Also, beginning to focus
on mathematics beyond arithmetic could yield some hefty improvements. I
don't know, this is just speculation. I'd like to hear how others read this
data. In any case, it does seriously challenge the credibility of the
assertion that the Standards are destroying students' minds.

Excerpts from NCTM homepage:
**What is TIMSS?

TIMSS is a comprehensive cross-national study of mathematics and science
teaching and learning in approximately 40 countries. Information has been
gathered from (1) assessments of student achievement in mathematics and
science at Population 1 (grades 3 and 4), Population 2 (grades 7 and 8),
and Population 3 (grade 12); (2) questionnaires for students, teachers, and
schools at those grades; (3) analyses of textbooks and curriculum guides;
(4) videotapes of classroom instruction at grade 8 in Germany, Japan, and
the United States; and (5) case studies of the educational context in
Germany, Japan, and the United States.

**How did U.S. fourth graders do?

Performance is above the international average.

Performance is above the international average on five of the six
content categories, but below the international average on the sixth

The results of the TIMSS assessment show that, overall, U.S. fourth graders
were significantly above the average of the 26 countries participating in
the analysis of mathematics achievement [2, p. 19]. Our students were above
the international average for every topic except that of measurement,
estimation, and number sense, where they were below th average.

**Where is other information about TIMSS available?

Web sites with additional information include these:

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