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Mathematics, PISA, and culture: An unpredictable relationship
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Mathematics and Science Education.
2015 (English)In: Journal of educational change, ISSN 1389-2843, E-ISSN 1573-1812, Vol. 16, no 3, 251-280 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Recent studies have indicated, particularly in the European context, thatstudents’ mathematical successes on international tests of student achievement maynot be attributable to the quality of classroom instruction, although, as is shown, thisis unlikely to be the case in Flanders, the autonomous Dutch-speaking region ofBelgium. Flemish students’ mathematics performance on such tests have placedthem at the head of the European rankings, warranting Flanders as a site of researchinterest that has been largely ignored by the international community. In this paper,drawing on analyses of four sequences of five lessons, taught by teachers construedlocally as competent, I explore the nature of Flemish mathematics teaching. Framedby anecdotal reports that it reflects the structuralism of the now largely abandonedBourbakian new mathematics movement humanised by the Dutch tradition of realisticmathematics education, the analyses focus on examining not only the extentto which these traditions are manifested in Flemish classrooms but the ways inwhich they interact. The dominant tradition seems to be that of mathematicalstructuralism mediated by teachers’ use of realistic problems; a tradition not unlikelyto underpin Flemish students’ repeated successes. The results are discussed inrelation to research highlighting the significance on students’ achievement of thebroader cultural milieu in which they and their teachers operate.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 16, no 3, 251-280 p.
Keyword [en]
Bourbaki, Finland, Flanders, Mathematics instruction, PISA, Realistic mathematics education, TIMSS
National Category
Other Mathematics
Research subject
Mathematics Education
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-117661DOI: 10.1007/s10833-015-9248-2OAI: diva2:815028
Available from: 2015-05-29 Created: 2015-05-29 Last updated: 2015-08-10Bibliographically approved

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