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PISA in Focus

PISA in Focus is a series of monthly education policy-oriented notes designed to describe a PISA topic in a concise, user-friendly way.

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Is memorisation a good strategy for learning mathematics?

Fewer 15-year-olds in East Asian countries reported that they use memorisation than did 15‑year‑olds in some of the English-speaking countries to whom they are often compared. In no PISA-participating education system did boys report more intensive use of memorisation than girls when learning mathematics. Memorisation as a learning strategy may work with easy problems, but it is unlikely to be effective if it is the only strategy used when confronted with complex mathematics problems.

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