NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ988752
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-May
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 3
ISSN: ISSN-0025-5769
Misidentifying Factors Underlying Singapore's High Test Scores
Usiskin, Zalman
Mathematics Teacher, v105 n9 p666-670 May 2012
Singapore students have scored exceedingly well on international tests in mathematics. In response, there has been a desire in the United States--both at the policy level and at the school level--to emulate Singapore. Because what can be identified most easily about Singapore's school mathematics can be gleaned from curriculum documents from the country's ministry and a look at some of the country's textbooks, American policymakers and school personnel have naturally latched onto these as the causes for Singapore's high performance. In this article, the author discusses four factors that account for Singaporean student high average performance: (1) Singapore's student population does not include the children of huge numbers of people who work the lower-paying jobs in Singapore; (2) Singapore has a national high-stakes test at the end of sixth grade that can determine the kind of schooling a child gets for a lifetime; (3) For Singaporean students, school is their job; other activities are absent or relegated to minor roles; and (4) Most Singaporean children get additional schooling beyond the school day through individual tutoring or classes. The author also discusses the implications of the misidentification of the causes of high scores in Singapore and suggests that all students can learn mathematics if they receive a well-designed curriculum and devote the time that it takes to learn such a curriculum.
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. 1906 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191-1502. Tel: 800-235-7566; Tel: 703-620-3702; Fax: 703-476-2970; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Singapore; United States
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Program for International Student Assessment; Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study