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Math Education

"Ten Questions for Mathematics Teachers ... and How PISA Can Help Answer Them"

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Students in high-performing countries for mathematics are less reliant on memorization strategies than their peers in lower-performing countries, according to a new analysis of international assessment data.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which administers the Program for International Student Assessment every three years to 15-year-olds around the world, periodically publishes reports based on slices of the data. This month's report offers takeaways for math teachers from the 2012 results.

It finds that students who report using memorization alone when studying math are successful with easier problems but struggle with more difficult ones. Researchers also note that, contrary to conventional wisdom, "fewer students in East Asian countries reported that they use memorization as a learning strategy than did 15-year-olds in some of the English-speaking countries to whom they are often compared." The percentage of U.S. students who say they learn by heart is just above the OECD average. Macao-China, a high performer, used memorization the least.

Vol. 36, Issue 10, Page 5

Published in Print: October 26, 2016, as Math Education
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