Why Schools Matter: A Cross-National Comparison of Curriculum and Learning

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9780787956844: Why Schools Matter: A Cross-National Comparison of Curriculum and Learning

Schools do matter. There is a direct correlation between what schools teach, and what students learn and achieve. With this important study you'll explore the curriculum-learning connection, and the prospects for improving educational outcomes for all kids.

Why Schools Matter emerged from the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS)--the largest ongoing educational research effort. TIMSS results have been widely reported in the popular press to underline how far the U.S. lags behind other Western countries in math and science achievement. This important study is the first comprehensive analysis of curriculum for teachers, school and district administrators, directors of curriculum, and educational policy makers.

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From the Publisher:

"An outstanding contribution to the debate over education reform in America.... No doubt about it: Bill Schmidt's book has helped clarify my own thinking about education and will remain within arm's reach of my desk." —Michigan Governor John Engler

"Schmidt and his colleagues mine the immensely rich data that is emerging from TIMSS to separate the myths from the facts, showing not only that schools do make a difference, but telling you in plain language just what makes a difference, TIMSS has become an extraordinary mirror which, held up to the American education experience, is more revealing than I have ever encountered. Schmidt has made himself master of that mirror!" —Marc Tucker, president, National Center on Education and the Economy

"It is my belief that this is one of the most relevant reports to the nation on the roots of our failed educational reform efforts." —Leon M. Lederman, Nobel Laureate in physics, Pritzker Professor of Science, Illinois Institute of Technology, and director emeritus, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory

"No school reformer should offer an opinion until they have digested the findings of this ground-breaking study of international curriculum practices." —Diane Ravitch, holder of the Brown Chair in Education Studies at the Brookings Institution

"The path to improving student performance is a lot clearer because of this remarkable book.... Make no mistake— all of us who care about the educational well-being of our children in a shrinking world should read this book." —Milton Goldberg, executive vice president, National Alliance of Business

"Shows the central role of curriculum and tracking in determining what students here get to learn, and why students in so many countries learn more." —Martin Carnoy, professor of education and economics, Stanford University

From the Inside Flap:

What will it take for our schools to provide world-class education in mathematics and science? This groundbreaking study of the curriculum-achievement connection in mathematics and science has important implications for what we teach, and the standards we set in schools.
Why Schools Matter offers an in-depth examination of the information that came out of the TIMSS (Third International Mathematics and Science Study). Launched in 1995, the TMISS looks at mathematics and science achievement in over forty countries at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. In that study, the United States lags behind other countries especially by the end of secondary school. The study also reveals that it is not the quality of the students that contributes to this low achievement. It is, in fact, what is being taught that makes a difference. The standards, the textbooks, the sequence, and the depth of the content taught are the key to improving mathematics and science achievement. William Schmidt and his research team confirm that curriculum has a profound effect on student achievement and plays a crucial role in providing opportunities for student learning.
Drawing on the rich data from the TIMSS, Schmidt and his coauthors analyze a wealth of information from teachers, textbooks, and curricular specifications to reveal how cultural context shapes curriculum and instruction and how they in turn affect learning, achievement, and educational opportunity. The authors conclude that reform efforts should be redirected to creating challenging curriculum across all years of schooling for all students.
Written for academics, teachers, school and district administrators, directors of curriculum, educational policy makers, educational researchers, and anyone who cares about the future of our children's education, Why Schools Matter offers clear direction for improving learning in our nation's classrooms.

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