Towards a More Curricular Focus in International Comparative Studies on Mathematics and Science Education

Wilmad Kuiper, Kerst Boersma, Jan van den Akker

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademic

    1 Citation (Scopus)


    From international comparative studies (TIMSS, PISA) it appears that students in lower secondary education in the Netherlands perform relatively well in mathematics and science compared to their peers from other participating countries. Policy-makers, especially, are eager to bring these positive outcomes into the limelight. However, one may wonder whether, in case of the Netherlands, there is good reason for such zeal. An evaluation study, conducted by the Netherlands Inspectorate of Education, shows that lower secondary schools do not meet the quality required in implementing a curriculum reform that started in 1993, entitled ‘basic secondary education’. So, in spite of all rhetoric on the positive outcomes of TIMSS and PISA in the Netherlands, when putting the relatively good student performance in the context of the implementation of this ambitious curriculum reform, many people become puzzled. Research findings on the quality of mathematics and science education seem to be in conflict with the results of TIMMS and PISA. This conclusion and also the observation that international comparative assessment studies have serious difficulty in meeting the goal of providing proper interpretations of student achievement, especially from a curriculum perspective, give reason to attempt to disentangle the conflicting images.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationResearch and the quality of science education
    EditorsKerst Boersma, Martin Goedhart, Onno de Jong, Harrie Eijkelhof
    Place of PublicationDordrecht
    ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4020-3673-6
    ISBN (Print)978-1-4020-3672-9
    Publication statusPublished - 2005
    EventESERA Conference 2003: Research and the Quality of Science Education - Golden Tulip Conference Hotel Leeuwenhorst, Noordwijkerhout, Netherlands
    Duration: 19 Aug 200323 Aug 2003


    ConferenceESERA Conference 2003
    Abbreviated titleESERA


    • Student achievement
    • Curriculum reform
    • Attainment target
    • Ability track
    • International comparative study


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