Mathematical Problem Solving: A Comparative Analysis between the U.S. and Korea

By Michael Ewing, Barbara Moskal and Graeme Fairweather.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The Colorado School of Mines (CSM), Golden, Colorado, USA, initiated a collaborative relationship with researchers from Kyungwon University, Korea, in June 2006. At that time, CSM researchers supported by the National Science Foundation, participated in the 2006 Korea-USA Forum for Attracting Gifted and Talented Students into Science and Engineering in Seoul, Korea. As a result of this forum, two Korean high school mathematics teachers visited CSM for three weeks in August 2006. During this period, they observed gifted and talented high school classrooms, interacted with U.S. mathematics teachers, and planned an educational research investigation to compare mathematical approaches used by Korean and U.S. gifted and talented tenth grade mathematics students. This study begins to examine the differences that have been witnessed in the mathematical performance of these students. The investigation focuses on the teacher factors that may contribute to Korean students performing at more advanced levels in mathematics than the U.S. students. Through interactions between the Korean and U.S. teachers, it was found that each hold very different assumptions concerning their students’ mathematical capabilities.

Keywords: Comparative Analysis, Korea, United States, Gifted and Talented, Mathematics, Tenth Grade Students

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 14, Issue 8, pp.267-274. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 964.531KB).

Michael Ewing

Graduate Student, Mathematical and Computer Sciences Department, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, Colorado, USA

Michael Ewing received both his B.Sc. in Geophysical Engineering and M.Sc. in Applied Mathematics from the Colorado School of Mines. Currently he is a graduate student, enrolled with the intent of pursuing a PhD, in Mathematical and Computer Sciences Department at the Colorado School of Mines. Previously Michael was a teaching fellow in the GK-12 Learning Partnerships (NSF DGE-023611) program and has created, managed, and taught outreach education workshops in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and geology for middle and high school teachers. He also developed and implemented an ongoing summer camp that focuses on technology and is offered free of charge to underprivileged middle school students.

Dr. Barbara Moskal

Associate Professor, Mathematical and Computer Sciences Department, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, Colorado, USA

Barbara M. Moskal received her Ed.D. in Mathematics Education with a minor in Quantitative Research Methodology and her M.A. in Mathematics from the University of Pittsburgh. She is an Associate Professor in the Mathematical and Computer Sciences Department and the Director of the Center for Assessment in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics at the Colorado School of Mines. Her research interests include student assessment, K-12 outreach and equity issues. She received a New Faculty Fellowship at the Frontiers in Education Conference in 2000, the William Elgin Wickenden Award from the American Society for Engineering Education with colleagues, Barbara Olds and Ronald Miller in 2006, and the Burton W. Jones Award for Distinguished Teaching from the Rocky Mountain Section of the Mathematical Association of America in 2006.

Dr. Graeme Fairweather

Department Head and Professor, Mathematical and Computer Sciences Department, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, Colorado, USA

Graeme Fairweather is Professor and Head of the Mathematical and Computer Sciences Department at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado, U.S.A. He received his B.Sc. (with First Class Honours) and Ph.D. both in Applied Mathematics from the University of St. Andrews, Scotland. Before joining the Colorado School of Mines in 1994, he held faculty positions at the University of St. Andrews, Rice University, and the University of Kentucky where he was instrumental in establishing the Center for Computational Sciences and served as its Associate Director. He has also held visiting appointments in Australia, Canada, China, Cyprus, Hong Kong, Italy, South Africa, Spain and Thailand, as well as in the United States. His primary research interests are in scientific computing and computational mathematics and he has published extensively in the mathematical and engineering literature. In recent years, he has engaged in several significant education projects which include the enhancement of mathematics and science teaching in pre-college education, the involvement of mathematics undergraduates in research, and broadening the participation of women in computing. His research has been funded by several agencies including the Fulbright Commission.

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