Do Teachers’ Instructional Practices Moderate Equity in Mathematical and Scientific Literacy?: an Investigation of the PISA 2012 and 2015

  • Jihyun HwangEmail author
  • Kyong Mi Choi
  • Yejun Bae
  • Dong Hoon Shin


Many efforts have been made to reach educational equity, especially to reduce mathematics and science achievement gaps by students’ socioeconomic status. Across countries, educators strive to reform traditional teacher-centered instructional approaches to more student-centered/inquiry-based instruction to improve equity in education. In this context, this study examines whether relationships between socioeconomic status and scientific or mathematical literacy are moderated by student-centered instruction. Ten countries covering a wide range of achievement levels as well as equity in education are selected for an international comparison. A linear regression analysis is applied to student achievement, equity, and frequency of student-centered instruction data from the PISA 2012 and PISA 2015. We find mixed results: As student-centered instruction is offered more frequently, the gap in mathematical and scientific literacy between low and high socioeconomic status is generally narrowed or maintained. In most countries, students’ mathematical and scientific literacy scores are expected to decrease across all socioeconomic status as student-centered instruction is given more frequently. The findings necessitate further scrutiny of how teachers implement student-centered instruction in various educational systems. This further research need to consider the complexity of implementation related to sociological and pedagogical aspects.


Equity in mathematics and science education Inquiry-based instruction International comparison study PISA Student-centered instruction 


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Copyright information

© Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of IowaIowa CityUSA
  2. 2.University of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA

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