ERIC Number: ED511928
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Sep
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 10
Were Our Mathematics Textbooks a Mile Wide and an Inch Deep?
Three mathematics textbooks of different grade levels, compared with Chinese math textbooks of the same grades, were selected that were used in some of the middle schools in Clark County Schools District (CCSD). Systematical review of the three textbooks were made grade by grade in order to figure out "Are Our Math Textbooks a Mile Wide and an Inch Deep?" It was found that many contents of these math text books were overlapped and repeated from previous grades to upper grades. In these three incoherent courses, topics were highly repetitive. It was noticed that approximately 20% of the contents were new and introduced into upper grade levels. 80% of the contents were re-taught from previous grades. Because of that, much time was spent every year reviewing and re-teaching the same topic again and again. 7th and 8th grade students were still learning basic arithmetic such as fractions, decimals, order of four operations, where Chinese students of the same grade moved on to algebra and geometry and trigonometry topics because the writer looked into Chinese mathematics textbooks from 6th grade to 8th grade. It was found that the Chinese math textbooks covered fewer topics than the U.S. math textbooks for the same grade. The Chinese math textbooks had fewer pages than those of the U.S. math textbooks because the Chinese math textbooks had little graphics or no problems asking students to use a calculator to find the correct answers. The Chinese math textbooks had 90% new contents. Chinese math concepts were taught to mastery. Each concept built upon the next; students were encouraged to move on. What had been taught in Chinese math classrooms was never re-taught and only revisited later. Chinese students outperformed the United States because they had uniform national standards. Chinese math textbooks had little repetition. Besides, Chinese curriculum focused on fewer content areas, but dealt with them in greater depth. It was found that "enVision" math textbook (5th grade) was used in some elementary schools of CCSD. If students were taught to master the concepts of mathematics from "enVision" math textbook, those students could study pre-algebra or algebra I in 6th grade because "enVision" math textbook covered nearly all that was taught in Course 1, Course 2, and even in Course 3. Researchers thought that if students obtained satisfactory achievement results, the curriculum was powerfully linked to them. It was hoped that there would be, in the United States, a set of national standards and curricula at each grade level so that math textbooks would be compiled on the basis of these uniform standards/curricula even if each state wanted to have her own edition of mathematics textbooks because a coherent set of national standards/curriculum would help students gain their desirable academic achievement results.
Descriptors: Middle Schools, Textbooks, National Standards, Mathematics Instruction, Textbook Content, Elementary School Mathematics, Secondary School Mathematics, Comparative Analysis, Cross Cultural Studies, Mathematical Concepts, Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry, Elementary Schools, High Schools, Textbook Evaluation
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Elementary Secondary Education; High Schools; Middle Schools
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: China; Nevada