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Educational policy analysis archives.
n Vol. 9, no. 33 (September 14, 2001).
Tempe, Ariz. :
b Arizona State University ;
Tampa, Fla. :
University of South Florida.
c September 14, 2001
Similarity of mathematics and science achivement of various nations / Algirdas Zabulionis.
Arizona State University.
University of South Florida.
t Education Policy Analysis Archives (EPAA)
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1 of 4 Education Policy Analysis Archives Volume 9 Number 33September 14, 2001ISSN 1068-2341 A peer-reviewed scholarly journal Editor: Gene V Glass, College of Education Arizona State University Copyright 2001, the EDUCATION POLICY ANALYSIS ARCHIVES. Permission is hereby granted to copy any article if EPAA is credited and copies are not sold. Articles appearing in EPAA are abstracted in the Current Index to Journals in Education by the ERIC Clearinghouse on Assessment and Evaluation and are permanently archived in Resources in Education .Similarity of Mathematics and Science Achievement of Various Nations Algirdas Zabulionis Vilnius University Lithuania Citation: Zabulionis, A. (2001, September 14). Math ematics and Science Achievement of Various Nations. Education Policy Analysis Archives 9 (33). Retrieved [date] from http://epaa.asu.edu/epaa/v9n33/. Abstract In 1991-97, the International Association for the E valuation of Educational Achievement (IEA) undertook a Third Int ernational Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) in which data about the mathematics and science achievement of the thirteen year-old students in more than 40 countries were collected. These data p rovided the opportunity to search for patterns of students' ans wers to the test items: which group of items was relatively more difficult (or more easy) for the students from a particular country (or group of cou ntries). Using this massive data set an attempt was made to measure the similarities among country profiles of how students responded to the t est items.
2 of 4Introduction In the educational community, folklore has it that "The German education system is quite similar to that of Austria," or "All postcommunist countries teach mathematics in the same way," and the like. Sometimes these sta tements are based on an analysis and comparison of national school structures, the curri cula or textbooks. Is it really possible to measure the similarity between the countries? Us ually, the phenomena of the similarity of the national educational systems is d escriptive and subjective; their features are seldom measured and placed on a scale. Data fro m the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) provided the opportunity to search for patterns among nations in students' answers to the test item s. (Notes 3 and 4) An attempt to group the TIMSS participating countr ies had already been undertaken by analyzing national curricula in mathe matics and science (Notes 1 and 2). The countries were grouped by a priori geographic and economic conditions, or by investigating statistically some patterns in the na tional math and science curricula. This last mentioned method of looking for statistical si milarities is close to the method described in this article. The difference is in the nature of the data used: the curriculum analyses dealt with the intended curriculum whereas the emphasis in this article is on the achieved curriculum, i.e., what was actually learne d by the students in the countries.Conceptual Framework Figure 1 presents the difficulty levels (p-values) of 20 items forming a part of the TIMSS mathematics test for three countries X, Y, an d Z. These items have been ordered by their difficulty; that is, the actual percentage of students obtaining the right answer for each item. Figure 1. Item difficulties for 20 TIMSS items for countries X, Y and Z. It can be seen that the students in countries X an d Y performed this part of the test relatively similarly, despite the fact that co untry X had higher overall achievement than country Y. The students in these two countries performed in a similar way on the same items relative to other items. Country Z stude nts performed in quite a different way: the overall students scores on this set of ite ms were about the same as in Country X, but the relative national item difficulties for these two countries were quite different.
3 of 4 Copyright 2001 by the Education Policy Analysis ArchivesThe World Wide Web address for the Education Policy Analysis Archives is epaa.asu.edu General questions about appropriateness of topics o r particular articles may be addressed to the Editor, Gene V Glass, email@example.com or reach him at College of Education, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 8 5287-0211. (602-965-9644). The Commentary Editor is Casey D. C obb: firstname.lastname@example.org .EPAA Editorial Board Michael W. Apple University of Wisconsin Greg Camilli Rutgers University John Covaleskie Northern Michigan University Alan Davis University of Colorado, Denver Sherman Dorn University of South Florida Mark E. Fetler California Commission on Teacher Credentialing Richard Garlikov email@example.com Thomas F. Green Syracuse University Alison I. Griffith York University Arlen Gullickson Western Michigan University Ernest R. House University of Colorado Aimee Howley Ohio University Craig B. Howley Appalachia Educational Laboratory William Hunter University of Calgary Daniel Kalls Ume University Benjamin Levin University of Manitoba Thomas Mauhs-Pugh Green Mountain College Dewayne Matthews Education Commission of the States William McInerney Purdue University Mary McKeown-Moak MGT of America (Austin, TX) Les McLean University of Toronto Susan Bobbitt Nolen University of Washington Anne L. Pemberton firstname.lastname@example.org Hugh G. Petrie SUNY Buffalo Richard C. Richardson New York University Anthony G. Rud Jr. Purdue University Dennis Sayers California State UniversityÂ—Stanislaus Jay D. Scribner University of Texas at Austin Michael Scriven email@example.com Robert E. Stake University of IllinoisÂ—UC Robert Stonehill U.S. Department of Education David D. Williams Brigham Young University
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