The objective of this article critique is to review and evaluate several empirical studies which have examined mathematics perception cross-culturally. The main study that focuses on examining mathematics perception cross-culturally is a study that was done in 2004 by Dr. Yea-Ling Tsao. In this study, researchers proved that Taiwanese students consistently score higher in cross-national studies of achievement than American students. Several other studies were done that also support this theory. Therefore, the main purpose of this article critique is to evaluate Tsao’s study in order to properly assess both the validity of Tsao’s design and the inferences drawn from the study. This critique will also show that, while different studies were done at different times, researchers still have come up with one consistent hypothesis: American students are constantly scoring below the national average in academic testing.
In order for Tsao to complete her study, she came up with specific research questions and hypotheses for her study. The study done in 2004 was to determine why is it that Chinese students are constantly amongst the top scorers in cross-national studies of achievement and American students are constantly below the national average. Dr. Yea-Ling Tsao gives an example early on in her article about how different studies have shown that American students are consistently performing poorly on tests of mathematics and science. She also gives an example of how in a recent national study of mathematics achievement, American students in the middle school grades were performing lower than the national average in problem solving, geometry, algebra, calculus, and other areas of mathematics. In contrast, Japanese students from the same grade level had significantly higher average scores.
In this study, Dr. Yea-Ling Tsao is trying to understand the reasons for the different perceptions of mathematics of Taiwanese children compared to American children. Tsao is concerned in taking a deeper look at the cross-cultural differences in mathematics perception and attitudes of younger children. Those tested were 21 students in Denver, Colorado, and 37 students in Taipei, Taiwan.
The researcher’s main concern in the study was to determine if attitudes and beliefs have a noticeable effect on American student’s performance in mathematics. In order to obtain answers to this problem, the researcher felt that it would be necessary to compare American students to Taiwanese students. The researcher’s main concern was to investigate differences in math perception between those students scoring highly versus those students scoring poorly on national exams. The researcher thought that the solution would be due to cross-cultural differences in achievement.
For this particular study, a survey including 39 closed questions (developed...