By Jinfa Cai

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Extra info for A Cognitive Analysis of U.S. and Chinese Students' Mathematical Performance on Tasks Involving Computation, Simple Problem Solving, and Complex problem solving (Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, Monograph, N.º 7)

Sample text

Achieving sample comparability and representativeness is an important, but often elusive, goal. Obviously, sampling problems in cross-national studies are not easy to overcome. Two strategies have been commonly used to reach comparability in sampling: age-level and grade-level sampling. Both age-level and grade-level sampling have advantages and disadvantages (Medrich & Griffith, 1992), but grade sampling provides the opportunity to relate classroom characteristics to student performance in ways that would not be possible with an agebased sample.

American students, for example, might not take testing as seriously as Asian students (Bracey, 1992). The findings of a comparative study of task persistence by Blinco (1991) appear to support Bracey's concern. S. children were given the first stage of a manipulative puzzle-like game that had a series of increasing stages of difficulty. The final goal was for the child to master the task of correctly assembling each stage of the game. The findings were that Japanese elementary school students persisted significantly longer than American students.

And Taiwan series do not differ greatly in the percentage of total topics included, only 68% of the concepts and skills are common in the two series. Grade level placement of topics is another area that may reveal national differences. Fuson, Stigler, and Bartsch (1988) investigated the grade placement levels at which addition and subtraction are introduced in the primary grades. S. mathematics textbooks as compared to textbooks in the former Soviet Union, Taiwan, China, and Japan. However, there is a remarkable uniformity in the placement of addition in the curricula of Japan, China, the former Soviet Union, and Taiwan.

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