In his doctoral thesis, Finnish PISA Researcher Pasi Reinikainen studied the country-specific factors connected to the science achievement of eighth-grade students in Finland, England, Hungary, Japan, Russia and Latvia.
-It is naïve to think that some countries could improve their students’ achievement by copying some features of e.g. Finnish educational system and then pasting them on to their own educational systems. The national systems and cultures just cannot be changed so easily. Instead of mimicking others, nations should focus on developing further the national factors connected to students’ good or weak achievement, says Reinikainen.
Focusing on national features is the key to better educational achievement
Reinikainen’s doctoral thesis shows some specific national and cultural features, which the parents and teachers, as well as the research and development of educational systems, should focus on in their attempts to improve the students’ science achievement.
Parents of Finnish students should be aware of the amount of time their children spend watching TV and monitor the programmes their children watch. The time Finnish students spend watching TV correlates negatively with their achievement in science. Watching news, nature programmes and documents, however seems to have a positive effect on science achievement, Reinikainen explains.
In England, attention should be paid to test frequency. Students who were given tests almost continuously were found to score lower in science than those who were given tests rarely or not at all. The schools giving frequent quizzes and tests, and the nature of these exams, call for further study.
- Often only a few students in the group focus on the task at hand, while the others merely look on. The teachers could take a more active role in guiding group and project work, Reinikainen says.
In Japan, parents should pay attention to the ways their children spend their time. Japanese students do not normally have much spare time since school or school-related activities take a lion’s share of their time. In Japan, the time students spend with their friends has a negative effect on science achievement.
In Latvia, student-centered approach in teaching predicts weaker science achievement and, in Russia, memorizing textbook material and relying on good luck turned out to be very weak learning strategies.
Ranking lists of comparative achievement studies misleading
There is currently a worldwide boom of large-scale international comparative student achievement studies. However, the major outcome of these studies (PISA, TIMSS, CIVICS, etc.) seems to be numerous ranking lists of separate educational contents. These rankings are not necessarily linked with student learning outcomes in the studied countries, and can often be misleading if used in educational policy making. Huge databases are collected in these assessments but unfortunately the information is often not utilized to its full potential.
Reinikainen’s doctoral dissertation utilized one of these databases, TIMSS 1999, and explored it much deeper than merely to produce a ranking list. The goal of his study was to reveal significant predictors of student science achievement in Finland, England, Hungary, Japan, Latvia and Russia, and to explain the various cultural situations where those achievements have been made.
For public audience, Reinikainen’s study offers an inside perspective on international comparative student assessments. It gives answers to the questions what these studies can do, what they cannot do, and what they should and perhaps could do in the future.
Liisa Harjula | alfa
Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology
Internet use in class tied to lower test scores
16.12.2016 | Michigan State University
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
27.04.2017 | Life Sciences
27.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
27.04.2017 | Earth Sciences