Quiz 15: International Education


Analyses of the studies suggest that characteristics such as class size, time allocated to instruction, teachers' experience or training, and amount of homework generally do not account for achievement scores.The "tell and show" teaching approach so prevalent in the United States and elsewhere also appears not to be correlated with math performance.It may do little good, therefore, for the United States to try to raise achievement by altering aspects of these characteristics.However, the analyses indicate that, unlike in many other countries, the U.S.math curriculum is unfocused, repetitive, incoherent, and not very demanding.In addition, it is "highly differentiated." That is, we tend to sort students into tracks that make higher math available only to high-achieving students.The most productive route, then, to improving U.S.performance may be to upgrade mathematics curricula and instruction so that all students are challenged to perform at a higher level.

Students may identify any three characteristics (intense parental involvement, length of school year, careful planning and delivery of a national curriculum, large amounts of homework, less variability in achievement thanks to support for slower students, emphasis on students' character and sense of responsibility, educators' sense of responsibility for student learning, the relatively high status and authority of Japanese educators, school schedules with time for counseling and planning, lessons that de-emphasize rote learning, rigorous examinations for entry into the teaching profession, language patterns that facilitate learning, and outstanding day-care facilities).Students' responses should be assessed on the basis of (1) how accurately they identify and describe three characteristics, (2) how well they explain the potential link of the three characteristics to high achievement, and (3) how sound their reasoning is in identifying potential implications for the United States.