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Iranian students' poor performance in science and math

By Ali Jalali

Contrary to the common belief that the K-12 education in Iran does a better job of teaching math and science than that of many of the developed countries (the United States being a frequently used basis of comparison among Iranian-Americans), the TIMSS2003 study demonstrates a rather disappointing and troubling state of affairs. Briefly, Iranian 4th and 8th graders' understanding of math and science on average ranked very poorly among participating countries in 2003.

To see the results of this study, click on the Mathematics Report and/or Science Report on the following website, and then browse through Chapter 1 of both reports to view the ranking tables (Chapter 2 contains more detailed ranking info). You might also want to read through the methodology and other sections to evaluate for yourself the level of accuracy and/or bias in this study.

The fact that a few talented Iranian students perform well in international science and math competitions (often after special, intensive training), or that talented, privileged, and well educated Iranians are over-represented outside the country should not hide the problems average Iranian students face with regards to math and science education inside the country. In my opinion, Iranian education authorities should be applauded for taking part in this study. I only hope that they acknowledge the results of this study and work harder to improve the quality of math and science education in Iran.

... Payvand News - 4/24/05 ... --

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