Teachers' conceptions of mathematics and students' achievement: A cross-cultural study based on results from TIMSS
Studies in Educational Evaluation
AuthorPhilippou, George N.
SourceStudies in Educational Evaluation
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Teachers' conceptions of mathematics and its pedagogy are generally considered to be important determinants in understanding teachers' thought processes, classroom practices, and their learning to teach. Teachers' overall interpretation of mathematics was considered in terms of the two ends of a hypothetical linear continuum as either algorithmic or coherent. Teachers' responses to selected items from TIMSS were analyzed to investigate the relationships between teachers' conceptions, cultural factors, and students' learning. We found that teachers from the four high-achieving East Asian countries tend to interpret mathematics as an algorithmic rather than as a coherent subject, contrary to teachers from the four European countries. This finding provides another dimension in the effort to explain the "learning gap" between Asian and Western countries, and may have significant implications.