market in the last two or three years. It also will be important to consider other studies of the contemporary instructional reform in science and mathematics education24 in order to determine whether what was occurring in the years of TIMSS-data gathering is consistent with the trends of standards-based reform. For example, studies conducted in the early 1990s suggest that the mathematics standards were only beginning to influence classrooms in a significant way.25

Conclusion

The release of the report on SMSO, to be followed closely by the release of several components of TIMSS, offer an important opportunity to learn more about international variations in curriculum and instructional practice in mathematics and science. Many attempts will probably be made to draw rapid conclusions from TIMSS regarding what should be done to "fix" American mathematics and science education. Issues that emerge from SMSO can guide the continuing analysis of TIMSS data, both by helping to shape the major questions asked of the data and by ensuring that the analysis will examine the complexity, variety, and subtlety of differences in educational goals, materials, and practice around the world. Although it will be difficult to avoid the comparison of achievement independent of context and culture, it is essential that we ask good questions and develop adequate explanations for variations within and between educational systems and that we study their connections to what students seem to learn.

The TIMSS data themselves will not "speak." To learn the kinds of things made possible by the availability of the TIMSS data will require raising critical questions and employing sophisticated methods for pursuing the answers. The secondary analyses possible from these data are significant; we now need discussions about the crucial issues to investigate and ways to do so. TIMSS data will provide a rare opportunity in discourse about mathematics and science education, its analysis, and improvement. We urge a stance of enlightened inquiry in that discourse.

24  

Ferrini-Mundy, J. & Schram, T. (Eds.) (in press). The Recognizing and Recording Reform in Mathematics Education project: Insights, issues, and implications. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education (Monograph No. 8). Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, and Prawat, R.S., Remillard J., Putnam, R. T., & Heaton, R.M. (1992). Teaching mathematics for understanding: Case studies of four fifth-grade teachers. Elementary School Journal, (93).

25  

Weiss, I. R., Matti, N. C., & Smith P. S. (1994). Report of the 1993 national survey of science and mathematics education. Chapel Hill, NC: Horizon Research, Inc.



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--> market in the last two or three years. It also will be important to consider other studies of the contemporary instructional reform in science and mathematics education24 in order to determine whether what was occurring in the years of TIMSS-data gathering is consistent with the trends of standards-based reform. For example, studies conducted in the early 1990s suggest that the mathematics standards were only beginning to influence classrooms in a significant way.25 Conclusion The release of the report on SMSO, to be followed closely by the release of several components of TIMSS, offer an important opportunity to learn more about international variations in curriculum and instructional practice in mathematics and science. Many attempts will probably be made to draw rapid conclusions from TIMSS regarding what should be done to "fix" American mathematics and science education. Issues that emerge from SMSO can guide the continuing analysis of TIMSS data, both by helping to shape the major questions asked of the data and by ensuring that the analysis will examine the complexity, variety, and subtlety of differences in educational goals, materials, and practice around the world. Although it will be difficult to avoid the comparison of achievement independent of context and culture, it is essential that we ask good questions and develop adequate explanations for variations within and between educational systems and that we study their connections to what students seem to learn. The TIMSS data themselves will not "speak." To learn the kinds of things made possible by the availability of the TIMSS data will require raising critical questions and employing sophisticated methods for pursuing the answers. The secondary analyses possible from these data are significant; we now need discussions about the crucial issues to investigate and ways to do so. TIMSS data will provide a rare opportunity in discourse about mathematics and science education, its analysis, and improvement. We urge a stance of enlightened inquiry in that discourse. 24   Ferrini-Mundy, J. & Schram, T. (Eds.) (in press). The Recognizing and Recording Reform in Mathematics Education project: Insights, issues, and implications. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education (Monograph No. 8). Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, and Prawat, R.S., Remillard J., Putnam, R. T., & Heaton, R.M. (1992). Teaching mathematics for understanding: Case studies of four fifth-grade teachers. Elementary School Journal, (93). 25   Weiss, I. R., Matti, N. C., & Smith P. S. (1994). Report of the 1993 national survey of science and mathematics education. Chapel Hill, NC: Horizon Research, Inc.

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