News of the WeekMATH EDUCATION

Videotapes Expose Classroom Faults

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Science  12 Mar 1999:
Vol. 283, Issue 5408, pp. 1616-1617
DOI: 10.1126/science.283.5408.1616

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Test scores have documented how poorly many U.S. students do in math compared to their counterparts around the world. But why are their scores so low? A new analysis just released by the U.S. Department of Education suggests that what happens in the classroom--what students are asked to do and how the material is taught--could provide at least part of the answer. And the data, collected as part of the Third International Mathematics and Science Study or TIMSS, are in living color--derived from videotapes of 231 eighth-grade mathematics classes in the United States, Japan, and Germany.