Schooling matters. The authors' professional pursuits for over twenty-five years have been focused on measuring one key aspect of schooling: the curriculum - what students are expected to study and what they spend their time studying. This documents their conviction that schools and schooling play a vital and defining role in what students know and are able to do with respect to mathematics and science. This research examines seventeen international studies of mathematics and science to provide a nuanced comparative education study. Whilst including multiple measures of students' family and home backgrounds, these studies measure the substance of the curriculum students study which has been shown to have a strong relationship with student performance. Such studies have demonstrated the interrelatedness of student background and curriculum. Student background influences their opportunities to learn and their achievements, yet their schooling can have even greater significance.
William H. Schmidt is a University Distinguished Professor at Michigan State University. He previously served as National Research Coordinator and Executive Director of the US Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) National Center. Richard T. Houang is a Senior Researcher and the Director of Research for the Center of the Study of Curriculum Policy at Michigan State University. Leland S. Cogan is a Senior Researcher with the Center for the Study of Curriculum Policy at Michigan State University and was the US Assistant Director for the Teacher Education Study in Mathematics (US TEDS-M). Michelle L. Solorio is a Ph.D. education policy student at Michigan State University.
Part I. The Historical Development of Modern International Comparative Assessments: 1. Beginning the modern investigation of the role of schooling across the globe; 2. The arrival of TIMSS and PISA; Part II. Conducting International Assessments in Mathematics and Science: 3. Who participates in international assessments?; 4. What students know: from items to total scaled scores; 5. Relating assessment to OTL: domain-sensitive testing; 6. The evolution of the concept of opportunity to learn; 7. The 1995 TIMSS curriculum analysis and beyond; 8. Characterizing student home and family background; Part III. The Lessons Learned from International Assessments of Mathematics and Science: 9. Pitfalls and challenges; 10. What has been learned about the role of schooling: the interplay of SES, OTL, and performance; 11. Where do we go from here?