Report

Mathematics in the Nordic countries – Trends and challenges in students’ achievement in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark Peter Nyström National Centre for Mathematics education Gothenburg university Overall comment • Interesting chapter • The study illustrates both the affordances of Nordic cross-country studies in the context of TIMSS, but also the necessity of contextualisation from a deep insight into each countries’ educational system Three research questions • Why has mathematics achievement improved in Norway, but declined in Finland and Sweden • What characterises school mathematics in the Nordic countries? • What characterises opportunity to learn in mathematics for students in the Nordic countries? Three explaining factors: SEAS, math characteristics, and OTL • • • • • School emphasis on academic success Characteristics of mathematics education Students’ opportunity to learn Why emphasis on these factors? Complex problem, important to look at some factors but also important to see how they work together with other factors SEAS • SEAS is a powerful factor in explaining the positive trend in mathematics achievement in Norway • The role of curriculum change in changing SEAS? • ”Thus, it is reasonable to assume that the LK06 reform itself contributed significantly to the increase in SEAS observed in Norway for Grade 8 from 2007 to 2011.” • This was not the case in Sweden from 1995 and onwards! • How can SEAS become higher? What caracterises mathematics performance in the Nordic countries? • Low performance in algebra, little emphasis on pure mathematics • Real-world mathematics as a driving force • Has this changed? • Possibly harder and harder to defend the learning of algebra because of its indirect usefulness to most people Students’ opportunity to learn • • • • Allocated time to learn Content covered Also: Focus on competences The idea of OTL has been present in Swedish national curricula since 1995 • What are in fact students given the opportunity to learn, and how can this be improved? Opportunity to learn • Relatively low emphasis on Statistics in grade 8 but relatively good results • With that exception, students seem to learn what they are given the opportunity to learn • Lower emphasis on algebra seems to result in lower achievement in algebra • Should TIMSS and PISA decide what students are given the opportunity to learn? The Swede in Europe: ”In Sweden we have a model…” So, what can we do… • Improve emphasis on academic success, which requires more than new curricula • Be challenged by TIMSS and PISA to reflect on expectations and opportunity to learn • Learn from others, within the Nordic countries and beyond • Claim and develop teaching in mathematics • Comprehensive in-service program currently being implemented in Sweden