International Forum Examines Asian Nations’ Math Strategies

By Sean Cavanagh — December 06, 2005 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

One could forgive the American public if, upon examining the results of recent international tests, it regarded East-Asian nations as a single educational behemoth that had perfected a uniform strategy for dominating the United States in comparisons of students’ mathematical ability.

Yet those high-performing countries are each guided by their own, often very dissimilar approaches to curriculum and instruction, as described at a conference held in Chicago last month.

The Center for the Study of Mathematics Curriculum, founded in 2004 and based at the University of Missouri-Columbia, staged its first-ever conference focused on international math issues, which drew government and education officials from China, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea, as well as numerous U.S.-based experts who have studied Asian education. Attendees heard speakers describe how Singapore’s math teachers, despite following a national curriculum, often take the initiative to go beyond it in their everyday lessons; and how a high percentage of Korean students are joining special programs to study an additional one to two hours of math a day outside school.

The Nov. 11-13 conference drew state and local curriculum officials, college faculty members, teachers, and publishers, among others, who hoped to get past generalizations about Asian countries’ approaches and go on to specifics that could provide lessons to U.S. schools.

“When we hear about these countries, we only hear about the results,” said Zalman Usiskin, a professor of education at the University of Chicago, which hosted the event. “The purpose of the conference is to bring out the subtleties that are explanatory.”

More information about the conference can be found at


Student Well-Being K-12 Essentials Forum Boosting Student and Staff Mental Health: What Schools Can Do
Join this free virtual event based on recent reporting on student and staff mental health challenges and how schools have responded.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Curriculum Webinar
Practical Methods for Integrating Computer Science into Core Curriculum
Dive into insights on integrating computer science into core curricula with expert tips and practical strategies to empower students at every grade level.
Content provided by

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: October 11, 2023
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: September 27, 2023
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated: September 20, 2023
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education From Our Research Center What's on the Minds of Educators, in Charts
Politics, gender equity, and technology—how teachers and administrators say these issues are affecting the field.
1 min read
Stylized illustration of a pie chart
Traci Daberko for Education Week