Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Comparison of Learning Strategies for Mathematics Achievement in Turkey with Eight Countries

Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Comparison of Learning Strategies for Mathematics Achievement in Turkey with Eight Countries

Article excerpt

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine learning strategies accounted for mathematics achievement across Turkey and neighboring countries. Turkey, Bulgaria, Greece, Azerbaijan, Russian Federation, Israel, Serbia, Romania and Jordan were involved in Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA 2009) study. Since other neighbors of Turkey were not participated in PISA study, they were not evaluated. In this study, PISA mathematics test score and questionnaire responses of 17224 students aged 15 year-old were analyzed via multilevel models. Three-level model was used to estimate coefficients and to model differences across countries and schools. At the first level, gender, socio-economic status (SES), elaboration, memorization, control strategy, home educational resources and cultural possession were considered and it was determined that all the variables except memorization strategy had positive effect on students' mathematics achievement. School size and student-teacher ratio were considered at the second level and gross domestic product (GDP) was considered at the third level. At the second and third level, it was revealed that all the variables except student-teacher ratio had a positive effect on students' achievement. The signs of significant coefficients on students' mathematics scores for each country were shown by using two- level regression. These results were crucially important for the education system to be effective in terms of increasing students' mathematics achievement due to the fact that changing school climate and improving the learning strategies are much easier to achieve than changing other variables affecting students' performance.

Key Words

Learning Strategies, Multilevel Models, Mathematics Achievement, Neighbor Countries, PISA.

A lot of factors and various strategies affect students' learning abilities. Therefore, using these strategies and applying these factors in appropriate and right way is important in helping students to reach their optimum learning abilities. Among these strategies, using reflective thinking and minimizing rote memorization optimize students' learning strategies (Halpern, 1998; Snow, 2002). In addition, it is inevitable that there would be difference between learning and success among countries (Gow et al., 1996 cited in Chiu, Chow, & McBride-Chang, 2007). Besides country properties like socio-economic status [SES] (Demir & Kiliç., 2008, 2010), country GDP also affects student success along with learning strategies (Chiu & Xihua, 2008). Recent studies (Chiu et al., 2007; Fonseca, Valente, & Conboy, 2011) also indicate that, variables such as gender, social and cultural values, school size and teacher-student ratio might also have influence on student success.

Purpose and Significance of the Study

This study aims to exhibit two main purposes first of which is to construct a hierarchical model in order to find the variables which affect students' mathematical success. The second purpose is to compare the findings of the model among countries and determine Turkey's place. After obtaining model results, suggestions have been made for the improvement of mathematical success in Turkey.

Method

PISA

PISA whose results have been published in every 3 years since 2000 is a project that researches level of knowledge and skills of 15 years old students in industrialized countries. A total of 75 countries including 34 OECD members and 41 non-OECD members participated in PISA 2009. Turkey stage tests and surveys of PISA 2009 project were applied to 4996 students from randomly selected 170 schools around 12 regions of Turkey in May 2009.

Data Set

In this study, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Azerbaijan, Russia Federation, Israel, Greece, Serbia and Jordan are selected as subject countries and PISA 2009 data sets from these 9 countries have been used. Two criteria were determined for the selection of the countries: First, geographic coordinates and distance to Turkey are taken into account. …

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