The OECD PISA is a representative competency-based evaluation that evaluates the literacy of 15-year-old students at the end of compulsory education, which is the ability to use the knowledge and skills needed to live as citizens of modern society. In particular, the PISA is more meaningful in that it enables to search not only the mathematics achievement but also the various educational context variables that affect achievement results.
The purpose of this study is to find various implications for mathematics education based on PISA results and to propose educational policy through analyzing PISA 2012 top 4 countries; South Korea, Singapore, Japan, and Finland. From the first cycle, Korea has been consistently among the highest performing countries in PISA. However there are still educational problems to be solved. In contrast to the high performance in cognitive domains, Korea often receives attention for its relatively low level of affective domains such as attitude toward mathematics. According to PISA 2012 results, Korea accounted for 60.4% of the students who feel happy in school (OECD average 79.8%), which is the lowest rate among the 65 participating countries. In order to address the issues, we would like to find various policy implications through international comparative studies with countries often cited for its excellence or equity in education. Singapore has the highest achievement in PISA, and Japan has educational characteristics similar to those of Korea, and recent achievements are steadily rising. Finland is an educational advanced country in Europe with an emphasis on education equity.
In this study, structural equation model analysis was conducted to investigate the relationship between mathematics achievement and student and school level variables. The research questions are as follows; (1) At the student level, what is the structure of the educational context variables that affect the mathematics achievement of the four countries? (2) At the School level, what is the structure of the educational context variables explaining mathematics achievement of the four countries? (3) Based on these results, what should be the direction of mathematics education in Korea?
At the student level model, educational context variables highlighted in this study are as follows ; intrinsic motivation, mathematical self-efficacy, parental subjective norm, control strategies, elaboration strategies, student-level ESCS, after-school mathematics learning time. And at the school level model, educational context variables highlighted are as follows; mathematics teachers' support, disciplinary climate of math classroom, teachers’ instructional behaviors, experiences with pure math problems, experiences with applied math problems, number of students per mathematics teacher.
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