THE FORMULA FOR SUCCESS: A BUSINESS LEADER'S GUIDE TO SUPPORTING MATH & SCIENCE ACHIEVEMENT
U.S. Department of Education and the Business Coalition for Education Reform
Results from the recent Third International Mathematics & Science Study (TIMSS), which compared performance in mathematics and science of a half million students worldwide at grades 4, 8, and 12, including 33,000 Americans, reinforces in stark terms the need for all stakeholders in our education system to join together to boost student performance across the board. While U.S. students at the fourth-grade level were near the first in the world in science, and were above the international average in mathematics, by the eighth grade, U.S. performance had fallen to slightly above the international average in science and to below the international average in mathematics.
Analyses of eighth-grade teaching and curriculum show our country has a fragmented curriculum and teaching generally is not focused on challenging content nor is it executed in a way that promotes problem-solving skills. By the 12th grade, U.S. ranking fell to below average in both science and mathematics, even among our advanced students, while our most advanced students in mathematics were at the international average and in science below average. This low performance is part of a larger profile: the majority of our students do not take advanced math or science courses and do not have a solid foundation coming out of middle school, and they are not being taught by teachers fully trained to teach mathematics and science.
Business knows that American students are not leaving school with the skills they need to be successful. Jobs that require strong academic skills are vacant due to a lack of qualified workers and remedial training costs are rising. The point is to do something about it - for the sake of our students, our businesses, and our country's future.
Employers and educators are working together to address the challenges which are made so apparent by TIMSS. "The Formula for Success: A Business Leader's Guide to Supporting Math and Science Achievement":
* provides the business community with vital 4th, 8th, and 12th-grade TIMSS data on mathematics and science achievement of America's students;
* makes the link between academic achievement and workplace success by offering workplace examples of the application of both basic academic knowledge and the higher order thinking skills;
* provides examples of business roles to support increased mathematics and science achievement;
* poses questions that business leaders can use to begin or continue conversations with other stakeholders - parents, educators, students, policymakers - to improve mathematics and science achievement in their community; and
* outlines resources that can assist employers in supporting student achievement.
Copies of "The Formula for Success: A Business Leader's Guide to Supporting Math and Science Achievement" are available from the U.S. Department of Education, National Library of Education (call 800- 424-1616) and from the National Alliance of Business (800-787- 2848). The document is also available online at http://www.bcer.org/timss/
******************************************************************** Jerry P. Becker Dept. of Curriculum & Instruction Southern Illinois University Carbondale, IL 62901-4610 USA Fax: (618)453-4244 Phone: (618)453-4241 (office) E-mail: JBECKER@SIU.EDU