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The answer to US declining math scores

  1. Sep 28, 2007 #1

    marcus

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    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/summary/317/5846/1851
    ==quote from Science==
    EDUCATION RESEARCH:
    U.S. Says No to Next Global Test of Advanced Math, Science Students
    Jeffrey Mervis

    After U.S. high school students did poorly on the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study in 1995, the government has decided not to participate in another version to be given next year...
    ==endquote==

    the cure for declining test scores--US vs other countries--is simply not to have our students take the test
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 28, 2007 #2

    HallsofIvy

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    Alright! The government protects us from ourselves again!
     
  4. Sep 28, 2007 #3

    arildno

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    Ah well, you are not down on the level of Norway yet, so you have no reason to despair.
     
  5. Sep 28, 2007 #4

    mathwonk

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    get rid of bush, that should bring them up.
     
  6. Sep 28, 2007 #5

    Hurkyl

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    To be fair, these sorts of comparisons are purported to be biased, because some other countries filter out the underachievers before they get to this level of education.

    If this bias really does exist, then the amount of unwarranted flak the U.S. education system has received gives a compelling reason why the U.S. should not participate in them.
     
  7. Sep 29, 2007 #6
    This thread seems like it should be in GD
     
  8. Sep 29, 2007 #7

    Actually, the TIMMS report and tests are the best and most accurate comparison. It compares 8th grade levels (whether or not the other country has our 8th grade, they compare the same LEVEL of student, not the number 8 grade) against each other.

    The countries that participate and do segment the educational system (Germany for one does this) does not segment until after the 8th grade. Therefore, we are comparing apples to apples in this study.

    Other studies that compared high school level students are comparing apples to oranges, and then your view is absolutely supported on multiple levels.
     
  9. Sep 29, 2007 #8
    I could really use this text for a paper I'm writing on just that subject! Do you mind posting or sending me that article Marcus?
     
  10. Sep 29, 2007 #9
    The entire country should standardise what is being taught. I really liked the British system where everyone is being taught with the same thing. Everyone worked hard to keep up with everyone else. SAT should be made into at least precal level with analytic type of problem to give motivation to study "quantitative analysis". And i believe my old maths teacher saying which said "when you put a $ sign in to the equation somewhere, student tends to understand it better."
     
  11. Sep 30, 2007 #10

    Hurkyl

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    What specifically is lacking? Precalculs is a fairly vague term. And if some precalc topic are missing, is it really necessary to include them? SAT is supposed to measure aptitude; between the choice between:

    . One person who has a solid grasp of the topics on the SAT, and nothing else
    . One person who has a shaky grasp of the topics on the SAT, but has seen more stuff

    I would expect the former person to do much better in the long run -- and possibly to be even better prepared for calculus than the latter person.
     
  12. Sep 30, 2007 #11

    Gib Z

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    In Australia it was actually on a comedy show about our mathematical decline. Some comedian dug up the Year 12 4 unit Syllabus (the high mathematics offered in high schools) from 1956 and the most updated copy of 2007. They noted that the 2007 version was literally half the size of the older one. They've taken out things that I would have considered essential, in most other countries the students know things like modular arithmetic, Polar form of complex numbers (which greatly simplify many calculations), matrices and the like.

    Oranges are better than Apples.
     
  13. Sep 30, 2007 #12
    I personally believe that everyone should reach pre-calculus in high school (Trig, complex number, classical geometry) but not the required algebra 2. (The lowest "algebra 2" classes was solving x+1 = 0 type of question.)
    Hong Kong is known to have high maths standard (and other subjects too). First everyone is required to take maths until 12th grade with almost no exception. The topics inclube probability, statistical inference, geometry, complex number, analysis of absolute value, etc. You might take additional maths like (analysis type calculus). In 11th grade there is an central exam which everyone is asked to take. Without that exam no one can go on further, that forces everyone to work hard for years prior to take exam. The exam is taken by almost all student and it was made to be hard in order to generate a bell curve. China is similar.

    On the other hand in american, it has some standardised tests (SAT will be discussed below) which is so easy and of no importance. When I was tenth grade in US, I had to take an TAKS exam which has the adding apples type of question on it. If one fails it (which is hardly the case), they can still go on to 11th grade. And the highest maths that are required to graduate is jsut algebra 2. Moreover, the SAT only demands knowledge upto alg2 also, how many people would even take further maths courses? Hardly any but the group who wants to be the best.
    I really think US education policy is very flexible for top-notch student while it is not pushing the lower group student much.

    From my personal point of view, exam should have 2 purposes. First is for official to measure students ability. Secondly, it should be a tool to push student to learn certain important concepts of the subject. i.e., I am sure nowaday student would practice writing more than the past because SAT includes writing section now.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2007
  14. Sep 30, 2007 #13

    marcus

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    Camillus said he would like a copy of the article. Can anyone help? I do not have a subscription to *Science* magazine.


    Here is something more from *ScienceWeek* by the same author, Jeffrey Mervis, but it is quite old.
    http://scienceweek.com/1999/sw990108.htm

    Maybe Camillus you can email to Jeffrey Mervis and get a copy of the article. Or look up the 28 September 2007 issue of Science at the local library.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2007
  15. Sep 30, 2007 #14
    If anyone wants the real data, you can get it from here:
    http://nces.ed.gov/timss/

    This is the official site for all TIMMS data. The stuff we are hearing about now is the pre-release data, snippets from the full report that will be released in December.

    You can request the full report be mailed to you for free. I have a copy of the 2003 report. You have to know the publication number and then you go here: http://edpubs.ed.gov/webstore/Content/search.asp to request a free copy be sent to you.

    Well worth the effort if you are interested in these topics.
     
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