Saturday, July 28, 2007

Is the Advanced TIMSS a threat?


U.S. Poised to Sit Out Advanced TIMSS Test
Physics, advanced math gauged in global study.

By Debra Viadero

The U.S. Department of Education has decided for the first time to sit out an international study designed to show how advanced high school students around the world measure up in math and science.

Mark S. Schneider, the commissioner of the department’s National Center for Education Statistics, which normally takes the lead in managing the U.S. portion of international studies of student performance in those subjects, said budget and staffing constraints prevent his agency from taking part in the upcoming study, which is known as the Trends in Mathematics and Science Study-Advanced 2008.

The study, in which nine countries have so far agreed to participate, will test students taking physics and upper-level math classes, such as calculus, at the end of their secondary school years. It comes as national leaders in the United States are promoting improved math and science education as critical to protecting the nation’s economic edge.

[snip]

“We need to look outward in order to better understand our own system,” said Patsy Wang-Iverson, the vice president for special projects at the Gabriella and Paul Rosenbaum Foundation in Stockton, N.J., and the instigator of a campaign to recruit other agencies or organizations to take the statistics agency’s place. “Given all the reports that have come out about the need for the U.S. to remain competitive, I feel this is important.”

Support for Ms.Wang-Iverson’s efforts so far has come from several national groups, including the Washington-based Mathematical Association of America, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, based in Reston, Va., and the American Mathematical Society, in Providence, R.I.
“Not participating in this worldwide assessment will deprive us of data that cannot be gathered through any other means,” Francis “Skip” Fennell, the president of the NCTM, wrote in an April letter to federal lawmakers asking for future funding in support of such projects.

[snip]

Ms. Wang-Iverson said the U.S. study could also show whether American students who take increasingly popular “conceptual physics” classes, which rely less on advanced math, are getting the foundation they need to score high on the international physics test.

Complete Education Week article here.

1 comment:

Tony said...

I don't see how it can hurt to get some comparative data. Unfortunately, we may find that we don't want to make the changes that are necessary.