• Elise BurnyEmail author
  • Martin Valcke
  • Annemie Desoete
  • Johannes E. Hans Van Luit


The present study addresses the impact of the curriculum on primary school children’s acquisition of clock-reading knowledge from analog and digital clocks. Focusing on Chinese and Flemish children’s clock-reading knowledge, the study is about whether the differences in sequencing of learning and instruction opportunities—as defined by the curriculum—result in differences in accuracy and development of clock-reading knowledge. By means of (1) an in-depth qualitative analysis of the Chinese and Flemish mathematics curriculum standards and textbooks and (2) a quantitative analysis of 11,743 students’ accuracy in reading the time, the current study mirrors the differential impact of alternative curriculum designs for primary education. The results of the analyses reveal that Chinese children acquire clock-reading knowledge—for analog and digital clocks—2 years earlier than their Flemish peers, due to a 2-year earlier exposure. Discussing these results, it is argued that the Flemish curriculum tends to underestimate what children are capable of and that clock-reading within the Flemish primary mathematics curriculum builds on dated assumptions and research results. Building on these outcomes, it is argued that curriculum development should be the result of collaborative inquiry involving policy makers, researchers, and teachers.


clock-reading knowledge comparative research mathematics curriculum textbook analysis 


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Copyright information

© National Science Council, Taiwan 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elise Burny
    • 1
    Email author
  • Martin Valcke
    • 2
  • Annemie Desoete
    • 3
  • Johannes E. Hans Van Luit
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Educational StudiesGhent UniversityGhentBelgium
  2. 2.Department of Educational StudiesGhent UniversityGhentBelgium
  3. 3.Department of Experimental, Clinical and Health PsychologyGhent UniversityGhentBelgium
  4. 4.Department of Social and Behavioral SciencesUtrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands

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