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US loses to Asia in math grades

Studies show that an average American math scores trail behind countries in the Asia- Pacific region.

india Updated: Jun 12, 2006 17:22 IST

US schools are considering emulating math and science teaching systems in Asia that produce better results, amid concerns over a drop in performance of American students in the two key subjects.

Average American math scores trail behind countries in the Asia- Pacific region, studies show. "There are grave concerns in the US about the quality of math and science education in American schools," said a new report by experts at The Asia Society, a US-based institution striving to bridge the US-Asia gap. 

It outlined key ways in which China, and East Asia more broadly, have been successful in producing higher student achievement in math and science and underlined the US “need to benchmark best practices wherever we can find them.”

 SMART BOX

  Studying the problem

• Average American math scores trail behind countries in Asia-Pacific region

• US report says American middle and high school students have not improved in science in last five years

• Asian education systems have strong core curricula, rigorous teacher preparation, exams that motivate students academically focused schools


The report, which largely focused on China's education system, said the country was bound by national standards in math and science, which drove coherent textbook content, teacher preparation and professional development.



In China, far higher proportions of science and math teachers have degrees in their disciplines than their American counterparts. Specialist science teachers teach students as early as third grade, unlike in the US where most primary teachers are ‘generalists’ typically responsible for all subjects.



In China, biology, chemistry, and physics are mandatory for completion of high school. Also, the Chinese school year is a month longer and Chinese students spend twice as many hours studying as their American peers.