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The mathematics skills of school children: How does England compare to the high performing East Asian jurisdictions?

Author

Listed:
  • John Jerrim

    () (Department of Quantitative Social Science, Institute of Education, University of London)

  • Alvaro Choi

    () (Institut d’Economia de Barcelona, University of Barcelona)

Abstract

The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and Trends in Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) are two highly respected studies of school pupils’ academic achievement. English policymakers have been disappointed with school children’s performance on these tests, particularly in comparison to the strong results of young people from East Asia. In this paper we provide new insight into the England – East Asia gap in school children’s mathematics skills. We do so by considering how cross-national differences in math test scores change between ages 10 and 16. Our results suggest that, although average math test scores are higher in East Asian countries, this achievement gap does not increase between ages 10 and 16. We thus conclude that reforming the secondary school system may not be the most effective way for England to ‘catch up’ with the East Asian nations in the PISA math rankings. Rather earlier intervention, during pre-school and primary school, may be needed instead.

Suggested Citation

  • John Jerrim & Alvaro Choi, 2013. "The mathematics skills of school children: How does England compare to the high performing East Asian jurisdictions?," DoQSS Working Papers 13-03, Department of Quantitative Social Science - UCL Institute of Education, University College London.
  • Handle: RePEc:qss:dqsswp:1303
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    : PISA; TIMSS; educational policy; primary education; secondary education;

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy

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