Learning Mathematics for Life

A Perspective from PISA

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People from many countries have expressed interest in the tests students take for the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). Learning Mathematics for Life examines the link between the PISA test requirements and student performance. It focuses specifically on the proportions of students who answer questions correctly across a range of difficulty. The questions are classified by content, competencies, context and format, and the connections between these and student performance are then analysed.

This analysis has been carried out in an effort to link PISA results to curricular programmes and structures in participating countries and economies. Results from the student assessment reflect differences in country performance in terms of the test questions. These findings are important for curriculum planners, policy makers and in particular teachers – especially mathematics teachers of intermediate and lower secondary school classes.



The Roles of Language and Item Formats

This chapter focuses on factors other than the three Cs (mathematical content, competencies and context) that influence students’ performances. Just as countries differ, students’ experiences differ by their individual capabilities, the instructional practices they have experienced, and their everyday lives. The chapter examines some of these differences in the patterns of performance by focusing on three factors accessible through data from PISA 2003: language structure within PISA 2003 assessment items, item format, and student omission rates related to items.


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