It assesses how far students have acquired some of the knowledge and skills that the study considers essential for full participation in society. to the persistence of an inwardly focused approach to education studies in the United States. Fundamentally, international comparative studies contribute to basic education research by documenting the existence of a much broader array of educational practices and outcomes than is available in the United States alone.
The Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002 places strong emphasis on using rigorous scientific methods to study education (U. International studies, however, can do much more than this.
For example, a July 1994 NCES strategy document noted, “Education policy makers and analysts now routinely request information about how American schooling compares to that found in other countries . Such studies, in addition to contributing to our understanding of the broader range of possibilities in education, are essential precursors to large-scale studies because they help to identify contextual features of school systems that are common to many countries and can be quantitatively measured.
Similarly, questions raised by counterintuitive findings of large-scale studies are often best explored by smaller scale, targeted studies. All these benefits do not flow automatically from every study.
He mentions early reservations about the limitations of what is likely to be learned from such study. This focus on comparisons of achievement brought valuable attention to the potential benefits of learning about education in other countries.
He cited one educator who claimed that “the practical value of studying other systems of education is that much can be learned about one’s own system of education.” His second claim was that “what goes on outside the schools matters even more than the things inside schools to an understanding of any system of education” (p. However, the country rankings that were so widely publicized did little to suggest the breadth of international research. In contrast, education systems in many other countries encompass a far greater degree of diversity.Few new initiatives have been launched either to cull insight from ongoing nonsurvey-based international studies or to support systematic new ones attuned to independent research agenda. students are not first in the world in mathematics and science, educational rhetoric in the United States remains essentially one-dimensional, lacking the sense of rich possibilities that international perspectives can provide.Despite major investments in a half-dozen large-scale international surveys over the past decade, U. public discourse about education remains curiously untouched by international comparisons. Possible reasons for this deficiency include the general imperviousness of U. education policy to domestic or international education research (Lagemann, 2000), and widely shared assumptions that other areas of the world are simply not relevant to the United States.The proposed solutions, however, produced several new, somewhat overlapping problems.Previously, there was a scarcity of data sufficiently robust to support valid cross-national comparisons; today, a glut of good-quality data overwhelms the field and remains largely unanalyzed, even as new follow-on surveys are launched. schools faced few mandated tests, and most were willing to participate in the occasional voluntary, internationally oriented tests; today, with increased requirements for mandatory testing, increasing numbers of schools are unwilling to add to their testing burden by participating in voluntary assessments.Chapter 3 draws on some recent studies to illustrate different ways that international comparative studies have—or, in some cases, have not—made an impact on the U. It continues by addressing the pressing need for more public access to the findings of all types of international comparative studies and the consequent need for an array of studies addressing a wide range of questions that call for many different research methodologies. education system has benefited immensely from ideas borrowed and adapted from education systems in other countries.Chapter 5 examines the implications of recommendations from earlier chapters for supporting infrastructure, both fi- Although many features of international data collection in educational research have changed over the past decade, at least one has not: research that provides comparative information across nations continues to expand understanding of education as a social and economic institution and provide rich sources of ideas about how nations can strengthen teaching and student achievement. These ideas range from methods for early childhood education (France, Germany, and Italy), a model for the structure of higher education (Germany), and goals for mass urban education (England), to the Suzuki method of teaching music (Japan).International comparisons of education systems often produce outcomes that are not part of their original rationale but that nonetheless make valuable contributions to the improvement of U. Rather, they are more likely to result from systematic investments in a variety of studies, differing in methodology, scope, and purpose, at least some of which try to test and build on earlier findings. Ideally, promising practices would undergo several rounds of study in the context of their country of origin, and in the United States, in which practitioners and researchers attempt to construct and test hypotheses about the rela- The Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) was conducted in 1995.Simply observing and measuring apparently effective practices in other countries is not sufficient to bring about desired improvement in U. Subsequent iterations of the same study changed the word “Third” to “Trends.” Each iteration of the study is now referred to by the year it was conducted.The rest of this chapter explores the current rationale for U. participation in international comparative studies and discusses the scope of such studies.Chapter 2 outlines the range of international comparative studies and their relative costs and presents recommendations for moving toward a more balanced research agenda for these studies. Chapter 4 begins by offering suggestions for continuing to improve one type of study—large-scale, cross-national surveys— with which the board has been mainly involved since its inception, and to address key issues that persist or have emerged with those types of studies since the board’s 1990 report, ).